If a person is convicted of a felony charge, he or she must have committed a grievous crime under criminal law. Felonies can be categorized into crimes such as –
- Burglary or theft,
- Manslaughter or unintentional killing,
- Animal slaughter or cruelty against animals,
- Cases of arson,
- Vehicular homicide, etc.
Felonies fall under both violent and non-violent acts of crime and the accused is subjected to pay fines, as well as serve a term in jail or prison (depending upon the nature of the crime) if they are convicted. By and large, felonies are also categorized into different classes, such as –
- Capital (Life) Felony. (Fla. Stat. § § 082, 775.083). A felon who has committed the most serious offense, such as pre-meditated murder or forced crime against a child (e.g., assault). This may result into life imprisonment and in some cases, even the death penalty if convicted. Can also include fines up to $15,000.
- First-Degree Felony. (Fla. Stat. § § 082, 775.083). Murder and aggravated battery of a LEO are first-degree felonies. They can carry prison sentences up to 30 years and fines up to $10,000.
- Second-Degree Felony. (Fla. Stat. § § 082, 775.083.) This category entails a felony committed by a person which includes unintentional killing of another person (or manslaughter), as well as selling drugs to a minor. A felon charged with second-degree felony can be sentenced up to 15 years of imprisonment and up to $10,000.
- Third-Degree Felony. (Fla. Stat. § § 081, 775.082, 775.083). The crimes categorized under third degree felony include – possession of a deadly weapon (without license), partaking in gang, car theft, etc. The punishment is also quite relaxed compared to higher degree felonies, albeit it may entitle jail terms of varied durations. Third-degree felonies carry sentences up to 5 years and fines up to $5,000.
Can I reduce my felony charge to misdemeanor?
If a person is convicted of a felony charge of not so grievous or severe kind, he can take an advice from a well-qualified defense attorney to have the charges reduced to misdemeanor. A felony charge is definitely looked upon as a serious crime. However, if the judge or defense attorney is convinced that the felon’s offense can be dropped to an act of misdemeanor under the legal framework, the punishment towards the crime can be reduced to a great extent.
Some of the most common cases of felony charges which have been bracketed or dropped to misdemeanors are-
- Cases of burglary or theft,
- Human assault (resulting into injury but not fatal)
- Embezzlement or fraudulent conversion tactics.
Your likelihood of getting your felony reduced to a misdemeanor can depend on a number of factors:
- The experience and competency of your defense lawyer.
- The willingness of your defense attorney to seek a lower charge or sentence for you.
- Your own criminal history – little to no criminal history can help the prosecution to bring lesser charges.
- A sensible defense, if not a valid legal defense like self-defense. (One that may make a jury take pity or mercy on your case).
- The amount of evidence that is admissible in court.
- Whether the evidence is circumstantial or not.
- If the charges were “trumped up” in the first place (i.e. if you were in possession of a drug, just over the misdemeanor limit, but it was for your own use and you were charged with intent to distribute).
It is important that when you are facing any criminal charge – felony or misdemeanor – to seek counsel from an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to defend and ensure your rights are met and aid you in providing a sound defense and legal representation – including negotiating lesser charges and reduced sentences.