Misdemeanor Criminal Defense
If you or a loved one have been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Florida, contact Tampa criminal attorney William B. Wynne for a free consultation. A misdemeanor is essentially a crime punishable by less than one year in jail. Considered less serious than felonies, misdemeanors are handled at the county court level. They are punishable by a fine, probation, and/or imprisonment in the county jail, as opposed to a state prison sentence on a felony charge. Misdemeanor offenses include worthless checks, prostitution, petite theft, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, resisting arrest without violence, battery, domestic violence, and assault.
There are two kinds of misdemeanors in Florida: First degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail, while second degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 60 days in jail. In addition to criminal misdemeanor cases, county criminal courts maintain and file civil infractions. Typically, civil infractions are violations of county ordinances that are neither criminal related charges nor traffic related charges. A few examples of civil infractions are littering, and boating and fishing violations.
Common Florida Misdemeanors.
- Driving on a Suspended License
- Driving Under the Influence
- Possession of Marijuana
- Possession of Paraphernalia
- Assault & Battery
- Criminal Mischief
- Disorderly Conduct
- Loitering and Prowling
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol
- Resisting Arrest Without Violence
- Petit Theft/Retail Theft
There are a few key differences between misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies are crimes punishable by more than a year in jail, while misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of up to one year. Further, unlike a felony convictions, a misdemeanor conviction won’t result in the loss of your civil rights (your right to vote, your right to own and possess firearms, etc). Of course, this isn’t to say that a misdemeanor conviction carries no consequence at all. Just not as serious a a felony conviction. Finally, depositions generally aren’t allowed in misdemeanor cases, absent a showing of good cause, and the Florida Punishment Code and the sentencing guidelines don’t apply to misdemeanors.