Defend Felony Charges in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
A felony offense is any crime where an individual may face a prison sentence of at least one year. Criminal charges that lead to a sentence of under one year are typically classified as misdemeanor offenses. In Florida, felony offenses are divided into the third, second, and first degree. Third-degree felony offenses are typically classified as less serious while first-degree offenses may lead to the most severe consequence, including life imprisonment depending on the case.
Third-Degree Felony Offenses in Florida
A third-degree felony is one step up from a first-degree misdemeanor. Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and/or five years of probation, and/or fines of up to $5,000. Common examples of third-degree felonies in West Palm Beach are:
- Aggravated assault and battery
- Third or subsequent DUI
- Drug possession
- Aggravated stalking
- Elder abuse
Second-Degree Felony Offenses
Second-degree felonies are more serious offenses than third-degree felonies, and as such lead to more severe penalties. A conviction for a second-degree felony offense can lead to:
- Up to 15 years in prison (mandatory minimums are possible for certain offenses)
- Up to 15 years of probation
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Paying the victim restitution
Examples of second-degree felony offenses may include:
By far the most severe charges are for first-degree felony offenses. Penalties for first-degree felonies can lead to 30 years in prison, and/or up to 30 years of probation, and/or a fine of no more than $10,000.
Examples of first-degree felonies in Florida include:
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Aggravated assault against a police officer, prison employee, an officer of a court, or emergency medical personnel
- Robbery with a deadly weapon
Capital (Life) Felonies in Florida
Certain capital felonies may lead to a lifetime of imprisonment or the death penalty. These include, but are not limited to:
- Armed drug trafficking
- Armed kidnapping
- Some sexual felony crimes
Having a felony offense on your criminal record is never a good look, even if the crime was nonviolent. You are urged to seek the help of a criminal defense lawyer with years of experience fighting third-degree felony charges to protect your future outlook and your rights throughout the criminal process. It is especially important to work with a knowledgeable attorney with experience fighting capital charges.
The Florida Legislature determines the classification of all felony offenses. The Florida Department of Corrections provides a ranking chart for determining a felony, where the severity level of the offense is ranked from one to ten. This chart is used to compute a sentence score for each person charged with a felony offense. However, the alleged perpetrator’s conduct and the severity of that conduct can play a large role in classifying the degree. While an accused individual under the age of 18 may be charged as a juvenile rather than an adult, if the crime committed is of a certain intensity – one where the death of an individual may be involved – then that person may be charged with a felony as if they were an adult.
Certain crimes such as assault or battery may be both a misdemeanor offense and punishable as a felony offense if certain aggravating factors are present. Aggravating factors may include the nature of the battery, whether a deadly weapon was used, and whether the person has any previous record of other felony offenses. These aggravating factors can increase an accused’s potential sentence if ever convicted.
Responding to a Felony Charge in West Palm Beach
In all types of felony charges, the accused must find an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney Brian Gabriel has handled a wide variety of felony cases, with the resources necessary to be dedicated toward each individual client’s needs. Mr. Gabriel can work towards an acquittal or negotiate a reduction of any potential sentence for his clients. If you are facing a felony charge in Palm Beach County, contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel today by calling 561-622-5575 for a free consultation.