Being charged with a felony offense in Florida is extremely serious. If convicted, these charges hold the longest prison sentences, and in some instances, they are even punishable by life in prison or even death. En Español.
The stakes in these cases are simply too high for individuals to represent themselves in Court. Individuals that have been charged with this level of offense need to speak to a West Palm Beach felony defense lawyer as soon as they are aware that they are under the suspicion of law enforcement or as quickly thereafter. A criminal attorney can help as soon as possible.
Definition and Types of Felonies
When a crime has been committed, it is classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes and typically include any crime that carries a sentence of less than one year in the County Jail. Crimes that are more serious than this are considered to be a felony and subject to a State Prison sentence, in many instances.
Common types of felonies are:
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Battery
- Sexual assault and battery
- Aggravated Stalking
- Grand Theft
Felonies carry sentences ranging from Probation up to up to life in prison, and if charged with Murder or Homicide, possible even death by lethal injection. Florida is a State that still has the death penalty, and this is the sentence the most serious felonies will receive. The sentence determined by a Judge will depend on the degree of the felony as well as the facts and circumstances of your case. An experienced felony defense attorney in West Palm Beach will work to achieve the best possible result and the least consequences to the accused.
Degrees of Felonies in West Palm Beach
There are five degrees of felonies seen in West Palm Beach cases. They are:
- Felony in the third degree. This is the least serious of all types of felonies, carrying sentences of up to five years in prison, and a possible fine up to $5,000.
- Felony in the second degree. Convictions of a felony in the second degree carry prison sentences of up to 15 years and fines up to $15,000.
- Felony in the first degree. Felonies in the first degree are punishable by 30 years or less, and a fine of $10,000.
- Life felonies. Life felonies are those very serious offenses that get a “life” sentence. In this case, “life” can indicate a sentence of 40 years, or the remainder of the defendant’s life. Life means life in Florida as there is no early release, parole or even gain time on the sentences.
- Capital felony. Florida is one of 31 states that still have the death penalty, and this may be the sentence in the most severe felony cases, known as capital felonies. A Judge may also choose not to sentence an individual with the death penalty, instead sentencing them to spend the rest of their life in prison, with no chance for parole.
Felonies are often committed in conjunction with another crime, such as a misdemeanor or a felony in a lesser degree. When this is the case, the charges can be pled down, giving the defendant a chance at a lighter sentence. It is crucial that those charged with any type of felony speak with a felony defense lawyer in West Palm Beach.
Florida law has stricter penalties for repeat offenders, this is known as the Three-Strikes Law. Under this law, individuals that have been convicted of two or more felonies previous to their third conviction will be sentenced to harsher penalties. These can include lengthier prison sentences, or larger fines.
Statute of Limitations
Just as there are statutes of limitations on civil cases, criminal cases such as those involving felonies also have statutes of limitations.
The statute will vary depending on the degree of the crime, and the timeframe begins the moment the crime is committed. The most serious offenses will not have any statute of limitations.
Talk to a Felony Defense Attorney Today
If you or someone you know has been accused or suspected of a felony, there is no time to waste. You need an experienced lawyer willing to fight for the best possible outcome for you. Do not wait, call a West Palm Beach felony defense lawyer today.