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Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer > Blog > Criminal Defense > What Is a Florida Misdemeanor Charge?

What Is a Florida Misdemeanor Charge?


Misdemeanor charges in Florida can carry a range of consequences, including fines, probation, and jail time. There are clear legal parameters when it comes to civil infractions, misdemeanors, and felony charges.

If you have questions about charges you or someone you care about is facing, connect with a Clearwater criminal defense lawyer. A skilled legal professional can inform you of the severity of the charges, what next steps you should take, possible defense strategies, and what type of punishments could follow a misdemeanor conviction.

What Is a Misdemeanor Offense?

A misdemeanor charge is a criminal offense, one that is less serious than a felony but more serious than a civil infraction. And within the classification of misdemeanor there are divisions as well.

In Florida, misdemeanors are divided into two categories: first-degree misdemeanors and second-degree misdemeanors. To understand the differences between the categories, simply remember that first-degree misdemeanors are more serious. As a result, first-degree misdemeanors carry harsher penalties than second-degree misdemeanors.

Examples of Florida first-degree misdemeanors:

  • Domestic violence charges
  • Driving under the influence charges that include property damage
  • Theft of property worth $100-$300

Examples of Florida second-degree misdemeanors:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Minor drug possession
  • Operating a vehicle with a suspended license

What punishment an individual will endure following a misdemeanor conviction will depend on the specifics of the case and can include jail time, driver’s license suspension, probation, monetary fines, and more.

When Does a Misdemeanor Escalate to a Felony?

It is also important to note that there are situations when a misdemeanor charge can become a felony offense. When this happens, it is sometimes referred to as escalating a charge. For instance, if you already had multiple driving under the influence convictions on your record and receive a subsequent driving under the influence charge, your DUI may be elevated to a felony offense.

Additional situations that could result in a misdemeanor charge being elevated to a felony include using a weapon during a crime, causing bodily harm or injury to another person, stealing property of a high value, or committing a crime against an older adult.

Naturally, potential consequences elevate alongside a charge being heightened to a felony offense. A Clearwater criminal defense lawyer can answer your unique questions about felony penalties, but know that convictions can result in years of prison time and substantial fines. Convictions also tarnish a person’s permanent criminal record, which can impact future employment opportunities and housing options. If you are facing a criminal charge in Clearwater, Florida, it is crucial to understand the potential consequences of a conviction.

Has someone told you that your misdemeanor charge could be elevated to a felony? By working with an experienced Florida criminal attorney, you can understand your legal options and have a professional defending your rights in court. With the right legal representation, it may be possible to fight misdemeanor or felony charges in order to minimize potential consequences. Talk to the legal team at King Law Group to learn more. Schedule your free consultation today.

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