What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony

What’s The Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

When it comes to the Florida criminal justice system there are drastic differences when it comes to potential sentences, social stigma, restriction on rights and manner of serving penalties depending on the classification of crime for which you are charged.

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Florida crimes are divided into two primary classifications; misdemeanor and felony.

Misdemeanor Crimes
Misdemeanor crimes are often referred to as minor offenses under Florida criminal law. These crimes involve sentences that do not exceed one year in the county jail. Consequently, no sentence resulting in incarceration for misdemeanor can be served in a Florida state prison. Defendants serving a misdemeanor sentence remain local as they will be housed in one of the handful of County correctional facilities.

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Most misdemeanor crimes do not result in incarceration, however those that do enjoy being housed in a local jail. This makes it easier for a defendant serving out their sentence to be visited by friends and family.

Felony Crimes
Felony offenses under Florida law carry much harsher sentences that call for incarceration more often then misdemeanor crimes. A felony in Florida may be sentenced to a maximum of five years to life depending on the classification. For example, a second-degree felony carries a maximum sentence of up to five years.

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Defendants serving a sentence of incarceration for a felony offense do so in the Florida state prison system. Prison facilities within our state are generally located in rule areas. Friends and families wishing to visit inmates serving time in the Florida State prison system generally must travel considerable distances to visit and incarcerated loved one.

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Felony offenses carry significant weight when it comes to criminal case scoring for repeat offenders then to misdemeanor crimes. Furthermore, a conviction for a felony has been found to reduce one’s ability to seek and obtain gainful employment significantly. Felony convictions also limit one’s constitutional rights, such as the right to vote or own a firearm.