Felonies and Misdemeanors
Florida has been quite active in toughening the criminal laws of this state. The penalties for certain felonies have been greatly enhanced. Many charges that were once misdemeanors have been elevated to felonies. Some misdemeanors become felonies upon second or subsequent convictions (i.e. petty theft, battery, DUI, driving while license suspended, etc.). Many people who have relocated to Florida from other parts of the country are shocked to learn the charge they have been arrested for, which would be a misdemeanor in other states, is a felony in Florida.
A conviction for a felony could have a devastating effect on your life. It would result in the loss of your civil rights including your right to vote and the right to own, use, or possess a firearm. Convicted felons are often prohibited from being employed in occupations involving public trust or where the position involves the handling of money or valuables. The penalties range from probation up to incarceration in the state prison.
Fortunately, there are possible solutions if you find yourself charged with a felony.
A misdemeanor conviction involving untruthfulness or dishonesty will often impact an employment opportunity in the same manner as a felony conviction. A formal conviction for many misdemeanor offenses will result in the mandatory suspension of your driver’s license (ex. possession of marijuana, soliciting for prostitution). Some misdemeanors even require minimum mandatory jail sentences upon conviction (ex. domestic battery). Contrary to popular belief, misdemeanor penalties can carry fines of as much as $1,000.00 and incarceration within the county jail for up to one year. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case there may be possible solutions to help you avoid these drastic consequences.