Misdemeanor Attorneys in Daytona Beach, Florida
At some point in everyone’s life, they’ll likely need the services of a lawyer. And in the most serious cases, this will be because you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, and you’ll need a competent criminal defense attorney to represent your interests and stand up for your rights. This is true regardless of whether you’re facing felony or misdemeanor charges. Many people falsely believe that a misdemeanor arrest doesn’t need to be taken as seriously as a felony, but this is not necessarily true.
You will need to seek an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help with your defense. It is vital to reach out to our legal team at DaytonaDefense.com. Our legal team has the practice, resources, and strength to represent you while keeping your best interests in mind. We’re located in Daytona Beach, Florida but can serve clients in DeLand, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach, Palm Coast, Volusia County, and Flagler County.
Florida Crimes Classified as Misdemeanors
It’s important to understand the distinction between a misdemeanor charge and a felony charge whenever you’re involved in the criminal justice system. In general, misdemeanors are considered less serious crimes than felonies and carry less severe penalties not to exceed one year in jail. That does not mean that they shouldn’t be handled by a professional or dismissed by those accused of them. A misdemeanor is still a criminal offense, and a conviction can dramatically affect your life. Furthermore, there’s a broad range of crimes that are considered misdemeanors, including battery, theft, driving under the influence (DUI), vandalism, shoplifting, or drug possession.
Classes of Misdemeanors in Florida
Florida categorizes misdemeanors into two different classes, known as misdemeanors of the first degree and misdemeanors of the second degree with the former class being a more serious charge. These classes of a misdemeanor can help you understand the severity of your charges and give you a better idea of the penalties you may be facing. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for an individual to be charged with more than one crime at a time, and you’ll need to understand what state law says about each separate charge. For example, you may have been arrested for a DUI, and at the same time, the officer discovered you were in possession of marijuana. In this case, you would now be facing two misdemeanor charges that must be addressed.
A first-degree misdemeanor in Florida includes charges like cyberstalking, battery, cruelty to animals, DUI, indecent exposure, possession of drug paraphernalia, or violating a restraining order. If convicted, these crimes bring the highest fines and the most jail time. A second-degree misdemeanor includes crimes like prostitution, theft of items valued under $100, disorderly intoxication, driving with a suspended license, trespassing, and simple assault.
It’s also worth noting that many of these crimes can be reclassified as felonies under certain circumstances. For instance, if you’re a repeat offender and have been charged with a battery misdemeanor before, it may now be considered a felony of the third degree. Or, if you’ve targeted certain victims, such as minors, law enforcement officers, and seniors, or been found guilty of a hate crime, it’s likely your misdemeanor charge will be upgraded to a felony.
The Legal Process of a Misdemeanor Charge
When you’re charged with a misdemeanor in Florida, the best thing you can do for yourself is hire a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately. Penalties for misdemeanor convictions are often left to the discretion of the judge in a county court, and if you’re able to present a compelling defense, you’re more likely to receive a lesser sentence.
The general process of a misdemeanor charge begins with the first appearance in front of a judge, which should happen within 24 hours of your arrest, followed by an arraignment where your charges will be read to you. You will either be held in custody until your court date or given the notice to appear at a specified time. You’ll begin the pre-trial process, followed by the actual trial and sentencing. In many cases, your attorney will be able to come to an agreement with the prosecutor and judge before a formal trial takes place, but this requires you to secure legal assistance as soon as possible.
Because so much of the sentencing depends on the specifics of your situation, it’s impossible to predict what your actual penalties will be. However, a first-degree misdemeanor cannot exceed one year of jail time and a $1,000 fine; a second-degree charge cannot exceed 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. A judge may also consider allowing probation instead of jail time or mandatory participation in a treatment program, even though these options are often reserved for first-time or juvenile offenders.
Misdemeanor Defense Attorney Serving Daytona Beach, Florida
If you’re in the Daytona Beach, Florida, area and have recently been arrested for a misdemeanor crime, contact our offices today to schedule an appointment. At DaytonaDefense.com, we’ll ensure you fully understand your options and work with you to achieve the best possible outcome.