What is a Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felony crimes and are handled in "County Court" rather than Circuit Court. Misdemeanors are defined as any criminal offense that is punishable under State laws, or that would be punishable if committed within the state the offender resides in. Even though less serious, there are still legal consequences such as handcuffs and a free police ride to jail where the offender will be booked. An offender that has been charged with a misdemeanor crime will have the ability to plea three different ways. He or she can either plead guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere (no contest). Each plea has a different meaning and different outcome. If an offender pleads guilty, he or she will be led to trial by either a judge or jury. If an offender pleads not guilty or no contest, he or she will waive rights to a trial and accept a plea bargain with recommended sentencing by the state attorney. Once the judge accepts the guilty plea or no contest plea, he or she will decide upon conviction whether adjudication is withheld or not. If the offenders conviction has been adjudicated, the conviction will permanently stay on the offenders record for a lifetime. If the offenders conviction has adjudication withheld, he or she may be eligible to apply for their record to be sealed or expunged. Similar to felonies, misdemeanor convictions will also scar an individual's record, thus resulting in the inability to find decent employment or obtaining financial aid for higher education. A judge may also sentence an offender with a guilty conviction to any period of incarceration less than the maximum and/or impose a fine less than the maximum. Additionally, the judge may also impose probation, community service, curfew, restitution, counseling, or other special conditions for the convicted offender to abide by. The state of Florida carries two classes of misdemeanors to include First Degree and Second Degree misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are less severe than felonies and are further divided by degree. Misdemeanors of the second degree may be punished by a statutory maximum of up to 60 days in county jail; first degree misdemeanors may be punished by up to a year in county jail.
Misdemeanors in Florida include:
Possession of Marijuana
Driving on a suspended license
Driving under the influence (DUI)
Boating Under the Influence
Expired Motor Vehicle Tag (more than six months, second offense)
Prowling or Loitering
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Resisting an Officer without Violence
No Motorcycle endorsement
Penalties Of a Misdemeanor in Florida
First Degree Misdemeanor- up to $1,000 in fines and up to one (1) year incarceration
Second Degree Misdemeanor - up to up to $500 in fines, and up to sixty (60) days incarceration
Statue of Limitations
All misdemeanors in the state of Florida has a statute of limitations of one (1) to two (2) years and begins when the crime is committed.