In Florida, crimes are classified into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Understanding how certain crimes are classified and their potential penalties can make navigating the system easier in the unfortunate circumstance that you or a loved one are charged with a crime. 


A misdemeanor is the least severe category, for a crime, that you can be charged with in Florida. Misdemeanors, in Florida, are subdivided into two varying degrees: first and second degrees. The potential punishments associated with a first-degree misdemeanor are a fine of up to $1,000, and probation or jail up to 1 year.  For a second-degree misdemeanor, the potential punishment is up to 60 days in jail and/or 6 months of probation with fines not exceeding $500.

Misdemeanors have no restrictions that follow beyond the conviction, except that a misdemeanor conviction could affect your immigration status if you are not a United States citizen, and could affect your ability to get certain types of jobs. 

The following are some examples of misdemeanors in Florida:

  • Reckless Driving
  • Possession of marijuana 
  • Vandalism 
  • Shoplifting
  • Public Intoxication 
  • Assault and Battery
  • DUI


Due to their more serious nature, the potential punishment for felonies increases when compared to misdemeanors. Similar to misdemeanors, felonies, in Florida, are also broken up into the following degrees: 1st, 2nd, & 3rd. A third degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison; a second degree felony is punishable up to 15 years in prison; and a first degree felony is punishable up to 30 years in prison. In Florida ther eare also certain felonies that carry a maximum punishment of life sentences; and because Florida recognizes capital punishment, that maximum penalty for capital crimes is death.  

The following are some examples of felonies in Florida:

  • Murder
  • Drug offenses
  • Sex crimes
  • Aggravated assault and battery
  • Fraud/Theft offenses

In addition to the potential for jail, felony convictions could prevent you from purchasing a firearm, voting, and even obtaining some professional licenses. If you are not a United States Citizen, a felony conviction could affect your immigration status. 

Legal Counsel 

Regardless of the crime or the severity, it is highly advisable that you seek out the advice of a qualified and competent criminal defense attorney if you get charged with a crime. The right criminal defense attorney advises you on how to proceed and ensures you exercise your rights to their fullest extent. 

Puglisi Law

If you have been charged with a crime or suspect that you are about to be, contact Puglisi Law to schedule a free consultation. We are equipped to defend you in the face of both federal and state criminal charges. Because being charged with any type of crime, whether misdemeanor or felony, can be frightening, we will always be the trusted source in your corner who is ready to fight on your behalf.