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Florida Crimes: Laws & Penalties

Being charged with a crime in Florida may have you feeling lost and uninformed as to what the charges may mean and what the consequences on your life might be. That is why it is crucial that you reach out to a Florida criminal defense lawyer who can help explain to you the possible outcomes of these charges and prepare a strong case to defend the charges against you.

Getting legal help and information may give you a better understanding of what a prosecutor has to prove in order to get a conviction, what sort of sentencing you may be facing and what factors may affect the decision reached by the judge. More importantly, you will also know what legally recognized defenses you may have or options; to the charges that are presented against you. Read on to get more information on Florida crimes, laws, and penalties.

Florida Criminal Law Basics

Florida law has set time limits for many crimes, although those that are punishable by death or life in prison are not subject to the statute of limitations. Other crimes have time limits of:

  • 4 years for first-degree felonies.

  • 3 years for second- and third-degree felonies.

  • 2 years for first-degree misdemeanors.

  • 1 year for second-degree misdemeanors and violations.

Misdemeanor Classifications

Misdemeanors in Florida are divided into two degrees.

  • First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by a jail term no longer than one year and a fine of no more than $1,000.

  • Second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by a jail term of up to 60 days and a fine no higher than $500.

Repeat misdemeanors carry enhanced penalties.

Felony Classifications

Each felony classification carries a maximum penalty, and they are classified as follows:

Capital Felonies – These are punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. An example is first-degree murder.

Life Felonies – These are punishable by life imprisonment and fines of up to $15,000. They include kidnapping and human trafficking.

Felonies of the First Degree – Punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines no higher than $10,000. They include carjacking and burglary.

Felonies of the Second Degree – Prison term of up to 15 years and a fine no higher than $10.000. They include extorsion and vehicular homicide.

Felonies of the Third Degree – They are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of no more than $5,000. They include trespass while armed and theft of a vehicle.

Drug Possession and Sale

Possession and sale of marijuana are illegal in the state. Potential penalties vary depending on the amount that is possessed or sold.

In Florida, it is not only the well-known drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana that are classified as controlled substances but also the chemicals and other compounds used in manufacturing them.

If you are convicted of selling or distributing controlled substances, you face serious penalties with life-long consequences. Seek the help of an experienced attorney with your case.

Theft-Related Crimes

If you are convicted of petit theft, grand theft, or shoplifting, you can face serious consequences, which include restitution orders, fines, prison time, and a criminal record that can follow you.

Motor vehicle theft is classified as a serious offense and is considered a felony. Burglaries can result in prison sentences.

Florida also has extensive laws against forgery, counterfeiting, and embezzlement. These are punishable by prison time and a criminal record.

Sex Crimes

Sexual battery in Florida is illegal and punishable as a felony. Sexting is defined as the sharing of nude or sexually explicit pictures through smartphones and is considered a crime when minors are involved. Potential consequences can be significant. Florida also has strict rape laws, which, among other acts, make it illegal to have sex with a minor.

By ML Staff. Images Courtesy of Florida Crimes: Laws & Penalties


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