Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal Defense Attorney, Markeishia L. Smith: Serving Winter Haven, Lakeland, Bartow, Haines City, Polk County, and Central Florida.
Call (863) 866-9917 today to schedule a confidential consultation with criminal defense attorney, Markeishia L. Smith.
Criminal Offenses are grouped into two categories, misdemeanors and felonies. One of the main differences between a misdemeanor and felony crime is where you will serve your period of incarceration if convicted with the maximum penalty. A person convicted of a misdemeanor will serve his or her time in a county jail. A Person convicted of a felony crime will serve his or her time in a State or Federal Prison.
- Misdemeanor of the 2rd Degree: Publishable by up to 60 days in county jail and/or a fine.
- Misdemeanor of the 1st Degree: Punishable by up to 365 days in county jail and/or a fine.
Sentencing penalties are handled the same throughout the State of Florida. For Example: If you are convicted of a misdemeanor Marijuana Drug Possession Crime in Miami, you will likely be given a fine (with a criminal conviction on your record) and sent on your way. In Polk County, Florida, the same conviction may result in jail time or probation AND the fine (with a criminal conviction on your record). Essentially, your sentencing for a misdemeanor conviction will depend if your case is in a large or small city or county.
A misdemeanor crime may be elevated to a felony depending on your prior criminal history. Example: If you are arrested for a misdemeanor battery offense, if you have subsequent batter charges, the current charges against you may be elevated to a felony battery charge.
Misdemeanor criminal charges may also be elevated to a felony charge if the hate crime statute is applied to your alleged criminal offense, or if it is discovered that a firearm or other deadly weapon was used or brandished during the commission of the alleged crime.
Outside of a Life Felony or Capital Felony, there are three degrees of felonies in the State of Florida:
- 3rd Degree Felony: Punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine, and potential period of probation.
- 2nd Degree Felony: Punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine, and potential period of probation.
- 1st Degree Felony: Punishable by up to 25 years in prison (or more), a fine, and potential period of probation.
As mentioned with misdemeanors, while a first offense may be a misdemeanor crime, such as a DUI offense, subsequent DUI Offenses within a specific period of time will be a Felony Crime.
A felony conviction will also result in the forfeiture of certain civil rights such as the right to own or possess a firearm, the right to vote, your right to hold public office, your ability to serve on a jury, your right to travel abroad, your ability to apply for public social benefits, your ability to hold specified certifications or work in specific areas of employment.
A felony conviction may also present significant obstacles in finding housing or applying for a job.
Having said all of this, being charges with a crime does not mean that a conviction is automatic. Every person charged with a crime has a right to defend themselves against the allegations. Every person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty. And in order to achieve a conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused did in fact commit the crime they are being accused of.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will ensure your rights are protected, investigate if your civil rights were violated, aggressively represent you, and ensure the prosecution is held to their burden of proof.
Remember, it is not up to you to prove your innocence, the burden falls on the prosecution to prove your guilt.
If you have questions regarding your Criminal Defense legal needs, make sure your legal rights are protected.