There are two criminal classifications in the state of Florida: misdemeanor and felony. Most often a felony is defined as a crime to be punished by death or more than a year in a state prison. In Florida a misdemeanor is any crime that is to be punished by county jail imprisonment of less than a year. Unlike other states, Florida also has another classification – noncriminal violation – that is punishable by forfeiture, fines, or civil remedy.
Degrees of Felonies and Misdemeanors
Both criminal classifications in Florida are broken into different degrees. From the greatest punishment to the minimum, the worst degree is a capital felony that is punishable via death or life imprisonment with no parole. A life felony follows with forty years to life in prison with a fifteen thousand dollar fine.
The remaining felonies are broken into three degrees. A first degree felony is up to thirty years imprisonment with a ten thousand dollar fine. A second degree felony is up to fifteen years in prison with a ten thousand dollar fine. And a third degree felony is punishable with up to five years in prison and five thousand dollars in fines
Since misdemeanors are less severe crimes, they have less severe punishments that are broken into two categories. A misdemeanor in the first degree is punishable via one year in jail and a one thousand dollar fine. This is opposed to a second degree misdemeanor of up to sixty days imprisonment and a five hundred dollar fine.
Changing a Misdemeanor into a Felony
Each misdemeanor degree holds different crimes, which vary from state to state. In Florida aggravated assault is classified as a second degree misdemeanor. But if a deadly weapon was used it without the intent to kill but with the intent to inflict harm, the assault is classified a third degree felony.
As battery inflicts bodily harm via striking, it can escalate from a misdemeanor to a felony. In Florida battery is a first degree misdemeanor. But if the assault is knowingly inflicted with the intent to harm causing permanent disabilities via using a deadly weapon, it is called aggravated battery. Aggravated battery is a second degree felony.
Carjacking is a first degree felony no matter the reasons and cannot be a misdemeanor.
When the court finds a person guilty of a misdemeanor in Florida, one of three punishments is to be imposed: county jail imprisonment of no less than six month but no more than a year; residential treatment program commitment for not less than six months but no more than three hundred sixty-four days; or detention in a designated residence for no less than six months but no more than three hundred sixty-four days.
If both a felony and misdemeanor have been committed, the court often will place the sentences to run concurrently according to sentencing guidelines.
The Florida Statute 943.0585 provides the conditions and requirements for the expungement of criminal records. Expungement allows the sealing of court cases and allows a person to comment that a crime was never committed. If a person has been convicted of a crime then expungement is not allowed.