Legal Representation for Misdemeanor Charges in West Palm Beach
Criminal offenses in Florida are generally classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. If you commit a misdemeanor, you may not be very concerned. You may want to get the whole thing over with, and may even wonder if it would be better to try and handle the matter on your own than to hire a lawyer. While misdemeanors are less severe than felonies, a misdemeanor conviction in Florida can have adverse consequences that you should consider. An experienced misdemeanor defense attorney in Palm Beach Gardens can try to get misdemeanor charges dropped or the penalties reduced.
What Counts as a Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors in Florida are crimes that can be punished by a period of imprisonment in a county correctional facility for not more than one year. A misdemeanor is different from a noncriminal infraction, such as a speeding ticket. Some misdemeanors are reclassified to a higher-degree misdemeanor or a felony because a defendant has been charged repeatedly for committing the same crime. These include DUIs, petit theft, battery, and marijuana possession.
Misdemeanors are divided into two degrees. Second-degree misdemeanors may be punished by a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail. First-degree misdemeanors may be punished by a maximum penalty of one year in jail.
The court can sentence a misdemeanor defendant to probation for a period of no longer than the longest possible period of incarceration for that degree of misdemeanor. For example, a year of probation may be imposed for a first-degree misdemeanor. This is not always an either/or situation. The court also may combine incarceration and probation.
What happens if you violate probation that was imposed as part of a misdemeanor sentence? You should be aware that a judge may revoke your probation if you violate one of the conditions of probation, even for a misdemeanor charge. The judge may then impose the full penalty of incarceration with credit for time served. A defendant charged with a felony as well as a misdemeanor may be sentenced to prison for the felony, while the misdemeanor sentence runs concurrently. In other words, you can serve both sentences at the same time rather than serving one sentence after the other.
There is less judicial discretion in relation to sentencing for misdemeanors than there once was in Florida. This is why it is so important to try to get these charges dismissed with the help of a capable criminal defense attorney. If you are found to be a habitual misdemeanor offender, the court is required to sentence you differently than it would sentence a first offender. Habitual offenders are those who have been convicted as an adult of four or more misdemeanor offenses that occurred within a one-year period, and that were not connected to the same sequence of criminal conduct.
Consult a Palm Beach Gardens Criminal Defense Attorney
I am an experienced West Palm Beach misdemeanor defense lawyer who uses 30 years of experience, including five in the prosecutor’s office, to serve criminal defendants facing a wide variety of charges. You can consult with me at either of my two offices. One is located in Palm Beach Gardens, near I-95 and PGA Boulevard. The other is located in West Palm Beach. Schedule a free initial consultation by calling 561-533-1221 or contact me through my online form. Both offices accept credit cards.