Understanding the Law
Before we answer that question, do we understand what felony means? A felony is a crime committed and tried by United States government. It is a federal charge for a crime, typically involving violence. Between a felony or misdemeanor, a felony is more serious than a misdemeanor. In Florida, felony charges could be any of the following:
- Aggravated assault/aggravated battery
- Child Abuse
- Assault/Battery of Law Enforcement/Public Servant
- Controlled substance possession (not marijuana)
- Grand theft
- Resisting arrest with violence
- Sex crime (includes rape)
- Drug trafficking
- Concealed weapon
The mandatory sentencing by Florida laws has limited the discretion by a judge the past few years, especially when it involves repeat offenders of violent crimes. Since 2007, when the Florida Anti-Murder Act became law, house arrest violators and probation violators are likely to face a less lenient judge that may impose mandatory minimum sentences. A person accused of such violations should hire an experienced legal representation to get the best results possible.
What is the highest felony?
In the state of Florida, they consider the most serious felony crime a capital felony, for example, capital murder. If convicted, the accused could be punished by death penalty or life in prison, and up to $15,000 fine. Depending on the crime, they classify Felonies in the state of Florida:
- Capital – punishable by death sentence
- First Degree – a first-degree felony is punishable by up to 30 years in state prison with a fine up to $10,000.
- Second Degree – punishable by 15 years in state prison with up to $10,000 fine
- Third Degree – punishable by 5 years in state prison with up to $5,000 fine
If a felony conviction doesn’t have a degree or punishment predetermined, the punishment will be a third-degree.
Is jail time mandatory for a felony?
There is little to no chance that a person charged with a felony without jail time sentencing is possible. The “10/20/Life” enacted a mandatory minimum sentence law in 1999 and applies to a violent felony with a firearm. The state mandatory minimum sentences a convicted person can face are:
- 10 Years: Any person convicted of committing or attempt to commit a felony while in possession of a firearm
- 20 Years: Any person who commits burglary, robbery, sexual battery, or murder with a firearm
- Life Sentencing: Any person attempting or commissioned of a felony that discharges a firearm resulting in death or serious bodily injury.
Will felony ruin your life?
A felony charge and/or conviction will ruin your life because society will see you differently. You’ll face numerous consequences, including incarceration, and because you were involved with a crime, felony or misdemeanor, your life is permanently altered, even if you’re not convicted and do not serve any time.
Criminal laws are constantly changing, new laws are created, they change criminal statues, misdemeanors and felony charges, and the law enforcement that is sworn to enforce and uphold these laws keep up with these changes. How criminal laws are interpreted are constantly being changed for the courts, and rulings are changed as well. This another reason that having legal representation is important.
Whether you feel you are innocent of any wrongdoing, you will have changes in your freedoms, liberties, and rights forever more. Here is a brief review of things you can expect from now on with your life after being charged and/or convicted of a felony:
The Financial Implications
Anytime you are charged with any crime, the cost of hiring a criminal attorney or if you’re eligible for a public defender. A criminal defense attorney can get expensive and can start at a flat fee around $500, or they may charge by the hour. Then there are court costs, potential fines, penalties, and assorted fees.
Employment costs could be the more expensive cost of all. While “employment at will” applies in most states, you could be fired because your crime and time missed because of your court dates. The cascading problems financially can be never ending, starting with the expenses we mentioned above, and if you lose your driver’s license, that can create issues for getting to and from work, even finding gainful employment.
Criminal penalties will have a financial cost regardless if you are convicted. Among those costs are penalties of jail time, which can be wide ranging. From nonviolent misdemeanor could be charged a substantial penalty, and you can face more serious felony with life-altering consequences. Additional penalties can include any of the following:
- House Arrest
- Community Service
- Restricted Privileges
Once you’re convicted, employment becomes an uphill battle, even for nonviolent crimes, depending on the field of employment. Criminal history is on most applications and employers will routinely inquire about an applicant’s criminal history, using a confusing way to inquire. Various employment fields include a criminal background check.
Convicted criminals still have their rights to civil liberties in every state. They also have Federal restrictions when the crime is a felony. Those restrictions can affect the person’s applying for disaster assistance, student loans, federal jobs, and federal business licenses, and certifications.
Psychological Impact and Social Stigma
A criminal conviction can affect how society views a person and the treatment they receive.
What rights do felons lose?
Being convicted of a crime, you can lose the following rights:
- Jury Duty
- International Travel
- Firearms Ownership, including ammunition
- Certain Employment
- Parental Rights
Does a felony go away after 7 years?
A felony will show on a person’s criminal record background check for seven years unless they are successful in having the criminal conviction expunged or sealed. If they are charged with a felony with no prior record, expunging or sealing the record is possible.
Whether you feel you have been wrongly arrested, hiring a criminal defense attorney is the best defense. If they find you guilty, you want an attorney that will work to get the lightest sentence possible, even a possibility of having the charges lessened. Dial 727-571-9999 to connect with someone on our staff about felony bail in St. Petersburg, FL and more!