West Palm Beach Felonies Lawyer
Felonies represent the most serious types of crimes recognized by law. A felony conviction can follow a person long after they have served their sentence. Indeed, convicted felons are often excluded from exercising many basic civil rights, such as the ability to vote or own firearms, even years after the fact.
So if you are facing felony charges, it is critical that you take a proactive role in defending yourself. An experienced West Palm Beach felonies lawyer can help. At the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., we represent clients charged with a wide range of violent and non-violent felonies, and we can provide you with independent legal advice with respect to your case.
How Florida Classifies Felony Crimes
A felony is basically any crime with a statutory sentence of more than 1 year in jail or prison. Not all felonies involve crimes of violence like murder or sexual assault. Many so-called white collar crimes, like fraud or computer hacking, are also considered felonies under Florida law.
Florida actually has five different classes of felonies:
Capital felonies – These are crimes such as first-degree murder that are punishable by execution or life in prison without parole.
Life felonies – These are the most serious non-capital felonies, such as committing a sex offense against a child under the age of 13, and are punishable by life in prison.
First-degree felonies – These are crimes punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Second-degree felonies – These are crimes punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Third-degree felonies – These are crimes punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
It is important to understand that a felony conviction does not automatically lead to the maximum sentence allowed by law. Florida courts use a “sentencing scoresheet” in felony cases when determining whether and how long to send a convicted defendant to prison. This means that if the defendant scores low enough, they will generally receive probation or some other form of non-prison punishment. On the other hand, if a person has any prior felony convictions, a subsequent conviction can lead to mandatory minimum or otherwise enhanced prison terms.
Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson Today
A felony conviction stays with you long after prison or probation. Many employers will not hire someone with a felony record. It can also be more difficult to obtain certain government privileges and benefits. And unlike misdemeanor convictions, it is extremely difficult to have a felony conviction sealed or expunged from your record.
So if you are facing felony charges it is essential that you seek out competent legal advice. A skilled West Palm Beach felonies lawyer may be able to help identify critical weaknesses in the government’s case or negotiate a plea down to a misdemeanor charge. If you have additional questions or concerns and need to speak with an attorney, contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., today.