Being charged with a crime is a devastating, confusing, and terrifying experience. While these feelings are certainly warranted, do not make the mistake of assuming that a conviction or jail time is inevitable.
In fact, working with a skilled criminal defense lawyer as early as possible is the best way to increase the odds of reaching a positive resolution in your case.
When your freedom, reputation, and future are on the line, you need a criminal lawyer who can help you understand your rights and fight to protect them. An experienced Boynton Beach criminal lawyer will have broad-based experience handling misdemeanor and felony charges and can work vigorously to secure the best outcome possible for you.
Florida Criminal Laws
Criminal offenses are outlined in Florida Statutes Title XLVI–Crimes. These criminal statutes detail the elements of each offense, how various offenses are classified, and set forth the range of penalties. There are many different types of criminal charges in Florida, which include but are not limited to:
- Theft crimes such as petit theft and grand theft offenses
- Sex crimes such as sexual battery, lewd or lascivious acts
- Drug crimes such as possession, trafficking, or distribution
- Traffic offenses (civil and criminal) such as speeding, DUI offenses, or hit-and-runs
- Violent crimes such as assault, aggravated battery, or armed robbery
- Gun/weapons crimes such as unlicensed carry of a concealed firearm or possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
- Property crimes such as trespass or burglary
- White collar crimes such as fraud or embezzlement
The potential penalties for these and other crimes depend on how the offense is classified, the individual circumstances of the case, and if there are any applicable enhancements.
Classification of Crimes in Florida
In Florida, nearly all criminal offenses are classified as either felonies or misdemeanors and are further divided by degrees of severity within those two broad categories. Each of these classifications carries certain penalties (i.e. imprisonment and/or fines).
A felony is considered more serious than a misdemeanor, with punishments ranging from at least one year of imprisonment to death. Felonies are classified in the following ways (arranged most to least severe):
- Capital felony
- Life felony
- First-degree felony
- Second-degree felony
- Third-degree felony
Generally speaking, a misdemeanor conviction carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail. Misdemeanors are classified as either first degree or second degree, the latter being the least serious of the two.
Although the penalties among misdemeanors and felonies vary considerably based on the severity of the offense, any criminal conviction can have long-lasting effects on a person’s life.
In addition to possible imprisonment and steep fines, being convicted of a crime can result in a loss of employment, negative impacts on familial relationships, and a number of other collateral consequences. A qualified Boynton Beach criminal attorney can help their client mitigate potential penalties they may face.
Contact a Boynton Beach Criminal Attorney
In some instances, it may be possible to negotiate with prosecutors to get charges reduced or dismissed. This is one of the many reasons it is so important for individuals facing criminal charges to act quickly to find the most aggressive legal defense available.
A criminal defense lawyer can challenge weaknesses in the state’s case and build a defense strategy that is designed to help you avoid the costly consequences of a criminal conviction. If you have been charged with a crime, contact a Boynton Beach criminal attorney who can help you begin building your case.