If you’re someone who’s been charged (or is under investigation for a crime) in the Greater Tampa Bay area of Florida, our team at The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A., stands ready to aggressively defend you and protect your rights under the law. If you’re in Clearwater, New Port Richey, Tampa, or St. Petersburg, contact us immediately for a free initial consultation.
Crimes in Florida are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors represent the less serious of the two and are classified as either first-degree or second-degree.
First-degree misdemeanors can land you in county jail for up to one year and earn you a fine of up to $1,000. A second-degree conviction can result in 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. An example of first-degree is the theft of property valued at more than $100 but less than $750. Prostitution is considered a second-degree misdemeanor.
Felonies, the more serious crimes, are classified as capital and life felonies, or as first-, second-, or third-degree.
Capital and life felonies, such as first-degree murder, are punishable by the death penalty or by life in state prison without the possibility of parole, along with a fine of up to $15,000.
A felony in the first degree is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravated assault against an on-duty law enforcement officer is one example.
Felonies of the second degree, such as selling marijuana to a minor, can result in up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Felonies of the third degree warrant up to five years in prison and a fine of not more than $5,000. Automobile theft is one example.
Sentences can escalate for individuals who have prior felony convictions.
This list is by no means meant to be comprehensive, but our team at The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A., is experienced in defending clients against charges of:
Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Florida has some of the toughest DUI statutes on the books with months of possible jail time, and your conviction will stay on your record forever.
Drug Crimes: Florida prosecutors take a tough stance against both drug possession and trafficking. Marijuana for recreational use is still prohibited.
Assault: Just the act of simple assault, such as poking someone’s chest menacingly, can land you in jail for six months.
Domestic Violence: The law requires a minimum of one year of probation, during which you must attend a batterers’ intervention program. Jail time is possible as well, depending on any injuries.
Firearms: Law enforcement officials arrest more than 6,000 Floridians every year on weapons violations.
Probation Violations: The legal standard is relaxed for violations of parole, and prosecutors need only to show a preponderance of evidence, not evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Sexual Assault/Rape: Florida takes sexual assault very seriously. Even if the act is only attempted but not committed, it can be charged as a felony.
Theft: The most commonly prosecuted theft crime in Florida is shoplifting, but more serious theft crimes (including trafficking in stolen goods) can lead to lengthy prison terms.
Traffic Violations: With each violation, points get added to your driving record. This can result in license suspensions and hefty insurance premium increases.
If you’re convicted of a crime in Florida, not only will there be penalties to face, including fines, incarceration, and probation, but the conviction will go on your permanent record. Having a crime on your record will make it hard for you to obtain employment, professional licensing, and even public assistance in many cases.
With a legal team and solid defense strategy in place, you can possibly get the charge reduced to a lesser one with lighter penalties or even get it dismissed altogether. There is no guarantee of results, but with knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorneys at your side fighting for you, your odds of improving the outcome can increase.
If you’re facing criminal charges in the Clearwater, Florida area, contact us at The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A. Your future may be hanging in the balance, so choose the best criminal defense team available. We’re proud to serve individuals in the New Port Richey, Tampa, or St. Petersburg areas. Call today for the help you need.