When you watch police or courtroom dramas on TV or when the newscasters speak about someone who has just been arrested, you will hear terms such as “felony,” “misdemeanor” and the like. Often the terms will include “degrees,” such as a first degree or so on. Knowing what all of those classifications mean can make the difference between hiring just any lawyer off of a list or hiring the finest Ocala attorney that you can find.
The penalties for some crimes become steeper with each commission. For instance, a simple DUI may be misdemeanor for the first offense but becomes a third degree felony by the third arrest in ten years. What does the difference in classifications mean though? Once you are arrested and have employed an Ocala attorney, he will explain the difference in more detail.
A felony is a crime that can be punished by more than a full year in a state penitentiary or correctional facility. The fines that are levied against those who are found guilty of a felony can vary according to the case itself and circumstances.
A misdemeanor is a crime that can be punished by less than one year’s time to be served in a county jail or correctional facility. Fines for misdemeanor crimes will also vary according to the particular crime and the circumstances. In both classifications there will be court costs and other associated fees to contend with as well, including restitution to victims if required.
An Ocala attorney will explain the differences between these crimes as well as what your options are toward resolution. He may suggest that you plead guilty to a lesser crime, for instance, rather than risking a trial and being found guilty of the original offense. If the prosecuting attorney has a very strong case against you however, he may refuse to take any deals that are beneficial to you in any way.
Once you are found guilty of a crime as an adult, that classification will remain on your record forever. For some jobs, simply having a felony conviction may be enough to keep you from being hired. It is always in your best interest to obey the law, but if you do find yourself facing charges of any level, you should contact a good Florida criminal defense attorney for assistance.