If you have been accused of a crime, then you require the services of a Miami criminal defense lawyer. A felony criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your case and fight the allegations, with the goal being to have all charges dismissed.
In Miami, felonies can be classified in a number of different ways and understanding what each classification means will help you better understand what you should do going forward. Meeting with a criminal lawyer can help you set goals and expectations for your case, understand the potential repercussions, and recognize your chances of a positive outcome. This is the first role of a Miami criminal attorney – to help you understand the nature and the scope of your charges and to advise you on the best courses of action going forward.
To begin, it is important to understand the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. While the term felony can be used in a broad sense to describe most crimes, it technically should only refer to those more serious crimes that are punishable by longer terms in state prison. While misdemeanors might sometimes incur jail time, this is less common and tends to be shorter in duration.
Degrees of Felonies
Among felonies, there are a number of different categories. Felonies are categorized as:
- First degree
- Second degree
- Third degree
Here, the higher the numerical designation, the less ‘severe’ the crime is deemed to be. Therefore, a first degree felony is considered the worst of the three and carries the harshest potential penalties. If you are charged with a first degree felony, then it is of great importance that you get a Miami criminal attorney to advise and represent you.
Common First Degree Felonies
A first degree felony can include any number of crimes. Some examples are:
- Aggravated battery on an officer
- Drug trafficking
- Trafficking in cannabis
- Trafficking in stolen goods
- Burglary with assault or battery
- Aggravated child abuse
These crimes can carry a punishment of up to 30 years in prison, with a fine up to $10,000. This may be more severe if the defendant has prior convictions.
Meanwhile, second degree felonies include such things as aggravated battery, burglary of a dwelling, DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident involving death, robbery by sudden snatching, and selling cocaine. These can result in a similar $10,000 fine or 15 years of prison/probation.
A third degree felony may include less severe variations of the above as well as forgery, grand theft, possession of burglary tools, possession of marijuana, resisting an officer with violence, unemployment compensation fraud, bribery and others. These can incur a $5,000 or lower fine, along with house arrest, no alcohol provisions, no-contact orders, random drug testing etc.
As you can see, there is some discretion involved in classifying felonies and that’s where a good Miami criminal defense lawyer can help. We can potentially help to have your crime reclassified, or even to help you avoid a sentence at all. Get in touch today to discuss your options with our trained Miami criminal defense lawyer.