Misdemeanors are crimes and can come with harsh penalties. In Florida, there are only two kinds of misdemeanors. Though misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies, it is still extremely important to take the charges seriously and hire a skilled misdemeanor defense attorney. There are immediate penalties for misdemeanors, but they can also come with lifelong consequences.
Classes of Misdemeanors
In Florida, a first degree misdemeanor is the most serious kind of misdemeanor. Examples of a first degree misdemeanor include a first DUI, battery, a second offense of petit theft, writing bad checks under $150, disorderly conduct, spousal abuse, vandalism, prostitution, loitering, marijuana possession (under 20 grams), shoplifting (under $300), ticket scalping, and reckless driving.
Second degree misdemeanors are less serious and include criminal mischief where the damage is less than $200, disorderly intoxication, a first offense of petit theft, simple assault, harassing phone calls, and simple trespass.
According to Florida law, the maximum penalty for being found guilty of a first degree misdemeanor is a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail. Second degree misdemeanors can come with penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. If the legislature does not classify a misdemeanor in the criminal code, then it will be treated as a misdemeanor of the second degree.
Other Consequences of Misdemeanor Charges
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, or plead guilty, it will be on your criminal record for the rest of your life. This can affect employment in a number of ways. First, if you are employed and your employer finds out about your arrest, your employment may be terminated, especially if it something that could, in any way, relate to your job. Criminal charges of any kind may also affect your ability to get a professional license. Many professions such as nurses, teachers, and anyone whose job involves a fiduciary duty require licenses from state governing boards to practice. You may be barred from getting the necessary license if you have related convictions on your record. Finally, if you are looking for a job now or in the future, you may have a difficult time finding employment, especially if your charges relate to dishonesty, such as any kind of theft charges.
Employment is not the only thing that may be affected. Some misdemeanor convictions may result in the suspension of your driver’s license. The suspension may be immediate and automatic. The conviction(s) also may limit your ability to possess firearms and/or get an open carry permit.
Contact A West Palm Beach Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer Today
If you are charged with one or more misdemeanors, you should contact a knowledgeable misdemeanor defense attorney as soon as possible. Even though the penalty for misdemeanors may not seem too bad, especially for second degree misdemeanors, having a criminal record can have lifelong effects. Our experienced misdemeanor criminal defense attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A., in West Palm Beach Florida can help to defend you against the charges and try to keep you from suffering lifelong consequences.