Felony offenses in the State of Florida include a wide range of actions which allow for the imposition of punishments from one year incarceration up to life. Felony offenses carry with them the potential for loss of the right to vote and to bear arms. Certain felony offenses even prevent a person from traveling or living where they choose. [See Sex Offenses]
Felonies are generally described as third degree, second degree, first degree, and capital. These designations generally carry maximum sentences of 5 years, 15 years, 30 years, life, or death, respectively. In Florida, however, judges are required to impose sentences according to legislatively imposed sentencing guidelines called the "criminal punishment code" or specific mandatory statutory enhancements. For example, a mandatory 20 year prison sentence must be imposed for a third degree aggravated assault conviction if a firearm is discharged during the commission of the assault.
Sentencing results in Florida are controlled by fixed statutes or sentencing guideline rules and NOT the judge in many felony cases. Attorneys are prohibited from informing jurors of sentencing mandatories, and jurors are directed to ignore the incarceration potential of their decisions. Furthermore, Florida has abolished all parole and requires inmates to serve 85 to 100 percent of their sentences. It should be no surprise that under these conditions Florida’s incarceration rate exceeds that of any nation in the world.
The types of crimes punishable as felonies range from driving while license suspended (third offense) to murder. Making an audio recording of a private conversation without consent is a felony, as is setting fire to your own property (arson). In other words, traditional notions of harm to others may not include all of the instances of felony punishments in the State of Florida.
Gainesville Felony Defense Attorney
It is critical to have an effective and experienced Gainesville felony defense lawyer at your side if you are facing a felony accusation. An experienced attorney can strive to hold the government to its burden of proof, expose any unlawful conduct by law enforcement which may affect the admissibility of evidence, determine if alternatives to prosecution exist, and preserve and present your lawful defenses. Each attorney at the DeThomasis & Buchanan law firm has more than twenty-five years experience defending individuals charged with criminal conduct in Gainesville, Florida. Contact DeThomasis & Buchanan to retain an experienced Gainesville felony defense lawyer.