Classification of Crimes in Florida

All crimes in Florida are classified into felonies and misdemeanors, here is a basic breakdown of them with their punishments and/or fines.

A felony is the most serious crime, punishable by death or by more than one year in prison. Depending on the nature of the alleged crime, a felony may be governed by federal law and tried in the federal court, or governed by a state law and tried in a state court. The types of felony crimes can be divided into crimes which, by act or intent, are violent or non-violent in nature. Felony crimes which are usually non-violent in nature are white collar crimes, such as tax evasion, embezzlement, identity theft and bribery, drug offenses, such as drug possession or conspiracy to distribute drugs, and other offenses, such as fraud, forgery, burglary or larceny. Violent felony crimes are murder, rape, manslaughter, sexual assault, armed robbery, and other acts which inflict bodily injury.

A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by a prison sentence of one year or less. Misdemeanors include such offenses as disorderly  intoxication, battery, theft of property valued less than a specific amount in a statute, and trespassing.

Felonies and misdemeanors are divided by several degrees of severity, which stipulate different levels of punishment, such as terms of imprisonment and/or fines

  • Capital Felony: death or life imprisonment with no parole
  • Life Felony: life imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $15,000
  • Felony in the First Degree: up to 30 years in prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000
  • Felony in the Second Degree: up to 15 years in prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000
  • Felony in the Third Degree: up to 5 years in prison and a fine not exceeding $5,000
  • Misdemeanor in the First Degree: up to 1 year in prison and a fine not exceeding $1,000
  • Misdemeanor in the Second Degree: up to 60 days in prison and a fine not exceeding $500

The amount of the fine might be higher if the fine is specifically authorized by a statute.

Some of the examples of the felonies and misdemeanors divided by degrees are:

  • Capital Felony: restricted to murder cases

Aside from felonies and misdemeanors, there are also noncriminal violations, which are the least serious offenses, do not constitute a crime, and are punishable by fine, forfeiture or civil remedy. The examples of noncriminal violations are things like parking violations.