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PRACTICE AREA

MISDEMEANOR

 

The Law Office of Lee Meadows has over 41 years assisting people needing guidance about Misdemeanor Crimes in Florida.

What is a misdemeanor? 

A misdemeanor is any criminal offense that is punishable by less than one year in jail. In Florida, misdemeanor offenses are handled at the County Court level and are considered less serious crimes than felony offenses.

DON’T LEAVE YOUR FUTURE TO CHANCE

You may feel that going before a judge on a misdemeanor will only result in a small fine or a slap on your wrist, but there are a lot of factors which you need to consider.

Each misdemeanor case is different and experience counts.

Examples of Common Misdemeanors

Battery

Battery in Florida is the intentional and unlawful touching or striking of another person against their will or the intentional causing of bodily harm to another person. This generally constitutes a first-degree misdemeanor if it is the person’s first offense. A first-degree misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to one year imprisonment.

 

Domestic Violence Battery

Domestic Violence Battery refers to a specific type of battery where the victim is a family or household member of the offender. It includes any intentional physical contact that results in harm or injury. Family or Household Member can include: Wives and husbands, ex-wives and ex-husbands, individuals related by blood or marriage, individuals living together as a family, individuals who have resided together as a family in the past, and people who have a child in common, regardless of prior marriage.

 

If convicted of the first-degree misdemeanor, the penalties include up to one year imprisonment or 12 months probation, and up to $1,000 in fines. The court is also required to order completion of a batterer’s intervention program as a condition of probation, unless the convicted person does not qualify or it states on the record why that requirement may be inappropriate. Penalties may also include a court ordered injunction, community service hours, and/or revocation of a conceal carry permit.

 

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly Conduct in Florida typically involves engaging in disruptive or unruly behavior that disturbs the peace, safety, or order of a public place, often causing inconvenience or annoyance to others. As a second-degree misdemeanor, it can carry a penalty of up to 60 days in jail or 6 months of probation and a $500.00 fine.

 

Driving on a Suspended License (DWLS)

Driving on a Suspended License occurs when an individual operates a motor vehicle while their driver's license is suspended, revoked, or canceled. It's a criminal offense. A person convicted of DWLS three times in a 5 year period will result in a five-year driver license revocation as a Habitual Traffic Offender. For more information on DWLS, see Suspensions and Revocations.
 

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

DUI is a criminal offense in Florida involving operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is proven either by the impairment of “normal faculties” or a blood alcohol level of .08 or above. A DUI conviction generally results in fines, license suspension, community service hours, probation and potentially jail time. The penalties for a DUI are harsher for repeat convictions. For more information on DUIs, see Driving Under the Influence.
 

Loitering and Prowling

Loitering and Prowling involves lingering in a place or acting suspiciously with the intent to commit a crime. It may include activities such as peeking into windows or trespassing. To be charged with loitering and prowling, a person must have been in a place, at a time, or in a manner not usual for law-abiding individuals and, under circumstances that warranted a justifiable and reasonable alarm or immediate concern for the safety of persons or property in the vicinity. Loitering and prowling is typically a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida, which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. However, the specific penalties can vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the judge's discretion.

 

Marijuana Possession (Cannabis Possession)

Marijuana Possession in Florida refers to the possession of any amount of cannabis, which is generally illegal in the state, except for medical use under specific conditions.

  • Possession of Small Amounts: In Florida, the possession of a small amount of marijuana (20 grams or less) is generally classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for possession of a small amount of marijuana can include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

  • Possession of More Significant Amounts: If a person is found in possession of more significant amounts of marijuana, it can lead to more severe penalties. Possession of more than 20 grams is considered a felony, and the penalties can include imprisonment for a longer period and higher fines.

  • Medical Marijuana: Florida has a medical marijuana program that allows qualified patients to possess and use medical marijuana as recommended by a licensed physician. Possession of marijuana for medical use in accordance with the state's medical marijuana laws is typically not subject to criminal penalties.

 

Petit (Petty) Theft

Petit Theft, often referred to as Petty Theft, is the unlawful taking or use of someone else's property with a value of less than $750. It's a misdemeanor offense. The severity of the charge and the penalties depend on the value of the property or money stolen and other factors. The penalties may be greater for those with previous theft convictions.

  • Petit Theft of the First Degree: This involves theft of property with a value of $100 or more but less than $750. This is a first-degree misdemeanor, which for first-time offenders can result in penalties such as up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.

  • Petit Theft of the Second Degree: This involves theft of property with a value of less than $100. This is a second-degree misdemeanor, which for first time offenders can lead to penalties like up to 60 days in jail and fines of up to $500.

 

First Offense Prostitution

Prostitution involves the exchange of sexual services for money or goods. This includes both the person offering sexual services for compensation and the person seeking to pay for sexual services. In Florida, first-time offenders may be subject to specific penalties, including mandatory education programs.

 

Resisting an Officer without Violence

Resisting an Officer without Violence pertains to obstructing, opposing, or resisting a law enforcement officer's lawful duties without using force or violence.

Consequences of a Misdemeanor Conviction

Criminal Record

A misdemeanor conviction results in a criminal record. This record can be accessed by potential employers, landlords, and others during background checks. Having a criminal record can make it more challenging to find employment, secure housing, or obtain certain professional licenses.

 

Employment

Many employers conduct background checks on job applicants. A misdemeanor conviction can make it more difficult to find a job, especially in positions that require a clean criminal history.

 

Housing

Landlords may also conduct background checks on prospective tenants. A misdemeanor conviction can lead to difficulties in finding suitable housing.

 

Financial Impact

Misdemeanor convictions often result in fines and court costs. Paying these financial penalties can be burdensome.

Education

Some educational institutions, such as colleges and universities, may consider a criminal record during the admissions process. Certain professional programs may also be hesitant to admit students with misdemeanor convictions.

 

 

Professional Licenses

Some professional licensing boards may deny or revoke licenses for individuals with certain misdemeanor convictions. This can affect careers in fields such as law, medicine, nursing, and more.

Probation and Community Service

Misdemeanor sentences may include probation, community service, or other court-ordered programs that require time and effort to complete.

Don't Go At It Alone

You may feel that going before a judge on a misdemeanor will only result in a small fine or a slap on your wrist, but you should consider that:

  • A misdemeanor will go on your criminal record.

  • If placed on probation, you could face jail if you violate your probation.

  • Although a misdemeanor conviction will not result in the loss of your civil rights, there is the possibility of jail if you appear without an attorney.

  • More likely, some judges adjudicate (convict) first-time offenders guilty of a misdemeanor; even though that same person would have received a Withhold of Adjudication if they had hired a criminal defense attorney to represent them.

  • You also need to be aware if you are considering a later sealing or expungement of your record, that this will be precluded if you plead or are found guilty of a misdemeanor offense.

If you've been charged with a misdemeanor and are in need of an experienced attorney, contact The Law Office of Lee Meadows. 

TESTIMONIAL

“Excellent service and professional understanding of the system. Do not try to navigate the system without Lee. He knows the system and the law. Thanks to Lee, our family is free and clear of all legal issues.”

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