When a person is charged with a felony here in Florida, one thing that has a big impact on his or her situation is what class of felony the charge falls under. There are five classes of felonies in the state. The three main classes are first-degree, second-degree and third-degree. In addition to these, there are also life felonies and capital felonies.
Florida law specifies which felony crimes fall under which class. When a person is convicted of a felony offense, what felony class the crime is in under state law impacts what kinds of sentences can be given.
- Third-degree: Prison term of up to 5 years and fines of up to $5,000
- Second-degree: Prison term of up to 15 years and fines of up to $10,000
- First-degree: Prison term of up to 30 years (though there are some special circumstances in which the maximum can be higher) and fines of up to $10,000
Meanwhile, life felonies and capital felonies are the two most severe offense classes in the state. Life felonies can carry a life sentence and fines of up to $15,000. The death penalty can be given for a capital felony.
Another thing that is very impactful when a person is facing felony charges here in Florida is the overall strength of the case against them. Skilled defense attorneys can help individuals accused of felony crimes in the state with looking for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and building defense strategies around the weaknesses found.