What is a Felony?
A felony is a crime classification that involves more serious crimes and carries harsher punishments. In Florida, felony cases are serious and complex and the government employs the most decorated and experienced prosecutors to handle felony cases. Felony cases may only be handled by circuit court judges and carries a punishment from one-year imprisonment, up to life imprisonment, and death by execution. Becoming a convicted felon will create barriers within life such as employment, housing, and the inability to obtain any professional license. Once a convicted felon, all civil rights are lost such as the right to vote, the right to own, possess, or use a firearm, the right to hold office, and the right to jury duty. In Florida, felony crimes are sentenced in conjunction with Florida's Criminal Punishment Code (CPC), which is similar to a score sheet. Each felony crime is ranked into levels 1-10. The crime is also assigned a numerical point value. The higher your ranking becomes, the more points your CPC score sheet will contain, the harsher the punishment will be. In Florida, felons can attempt to seal or expunge their convictions but there are certain criteria and wait time that one must adhere to prior to applying. In recent years, applying for clemency from the Office of Executive Clemency has proven difficult whereas as Governor Rick Scott has made clemency and the ability for felons to restore their rights nearly impossible. In 2011, Florida Governor Rick Scott and his Cabinet — Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam — established a five (5) year wait for convicted felons who wish to apply to have their rights restored. In 2007, former Gov. Charlie Crist’s first year in office, 38,971 felons regained their civil rights. In 2011, Scott and his Cabinet, acting as the Board of Executive Clemency, restored civil rights to 78 people. The numbers show that seeking relief of clemency in Florida will be a long and stressful process. Clemency is not guaranteed and commutations are rarely granted.
Felonies in Florida include:
Sex Crimes including sexual battery, lewd and lascivious battery, and lewd and lascivious molestation
Penalties of a Felony in Florida
First Degree Felony - up to $10,000 in fines, up to thirty (30) years imprisonment
Second Degree Felony - up to $10,000 in fines, up to fifteen (15) years imprisonment
Third Degree Felony - up to $5,000 in fines, up to five (5) years imprisonment
Capital Felony - Death or life imprisonment
Life Felony -Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole
Statue of Limitations
All felony crimes that result in death, death penalty felonies, perjury in an official proceeding associated with the prosecution of a capital felony, or felonies punishable by life have no statute of limitations. First degree felonies have a statue of limitation of four (4) years after the crime is committed. All other felonies have a three (3) year statute of limitation after the crime is committed.