A misdemeanor in Florida is any crime punishable by up to a year in the county jail. Florida law recognizes two different types of misdemeanors. First degree misdemeanors are the most harsh and are punishable up to the full year in the
county jail or $1,000 fine. Second degree misdemeanor convictions may result in up to 60 days in jail, a fine of $500, and/or six months of probation. In Broward County, as well as the rest of Florida, judges often impose sentences using a combination of the available punishments. For instance, the judge might sentence you to 30 days in jail, followed by six months of probation, a $250 fine, and court costs for a simple misdemeanor offense.
Although misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies, a conviction will still have a tremendous impact on your life. In addition to marring your record, you might lose your job, have difficulty obtaining employment at later date, and you might even spend time in jail. Depending on your prior criminal record and other factors, your criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you get into a diversionary program, such as Drug Court or special traffic programs.
There are numerous misdemeanors in Florida. Some crimes are misdemeanors the first or second time you are convicted, but repeat offenses may lead to felony charges with prison sentences exceeding on year. For instance, getting charged with DUI is a misdemeanor in Florida the first two times, but the third conviction or beyond can be charged as a felony. Of course, this assumes that there are no aggravating factors, such as a blood alcohol content of over 0.15, serious bodily injury, or DUI manslaughter.
Some of the most common examples of misdemeanors our Broward County criminal defense attorneys see include:
- Driving Under the Influence
- Disorderly Conduct
- Driving with a Suspended License
- Shoplifting (petittheft)
- Certain drug charges, such as possession of marijuana
- Domestic Violence
Very serious crimes, such as sex crimes and homicide in any form, are charged as felonies. If you get a misdemeanor conviction, you may be able to have your record expunged (removed) or sealed if you do not have a prior criminal record. Expungement can prevent future employers, for instance, from ever knowing about the one time you got into trouble.