Florida Second-Degree Misdemeanor Charges

Florida Second-Degree Misdemeanor ChargesThe primary difference between a misdemeanor charge and a felony charge in Florida is the severity of the crime. Both charges are broken into classifications depending on the crime committed and the defendant’s criminal history. For misdemeanor offenses, there are first-degree and second-degree crimes. Second-degree misdemeanors are less severe than first-degree and thus carry less severe penalties.

A second-degree misdemeanor is still a serious matter, even if it is a less severe charge than a felony or misdemeanor of the first degree. It is always in your best interest to consult an attorney experienced in resolving second-degree misdemeanor cases to safeguard your future.

What Are Second-Degree Misdemeanors?

In Florida, those convicted of second-degree misdemeanors can face up to 60 days in jail. In addition to jail time, offenders can also receive fines and up to six months of probation. Common crimes committed and first-time offenses that classify as a second-degree misdemeanor include:

  • Simple assault
  • Driving on a suspended license
  • Marijuana possession
  • Shoplifting
  • Prostitution
  • Public intoxication
  • Disorderly conduct

What’s considered a second-degree misdemeanor may be confusing, but an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you better understand the charge brought against you.

Simple Assault

Sometimes emotions get the best of us. Even if you only threaten to hurt someone else but don’t go through with it, you could be charged with assault. Simple assault is when someone attempts to intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly cause bodily injury to another person. Simple assault may also occur when someone negligently causes bodily injury to another. In addition to jail time or fines, offenders may also have to complete community service, participate in education programs, or be placed on house arrest.

Driving on a Suspended License

Any person who operates a vehicle while their license is suspended or revoked can face harsh penalties. A court may suspend your license for several reasons, like:

  • Not having insurance
  • DUI conviction
  • Unpaid traffic tickets

If you’re convicted of driving without a license for the first time, you can face up to 60 days in jail, fines up to $500, or both. However, the more times you are found guilty of this crime, the harsher the penalties become. Three or more convictions within five years can result in being classified as a habitual traffic offender.

Marijuana Possession

Simple marijuana possession under 20 grams is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. However, judges may consider criminal history when sentencing and reduce the crime to a second-degree misdemeanor if you have no prior record, or if there are other mitigating factors. Also, your drug crimes defense attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor to reduce the charge. In addition to jail time or fines, you’ll need to complete drug-related courses.

Shoplifting

Shoplifting crime classifications are determined by how much you’re accused of stealing. If the items are valued at less than $100, a prosecutor may pursue second-degree misdemeanor charges. In addition to being charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, the store may file a civil penalty against you. This fine can be as low as $200 or as high as $1,000.

Consult a shoplifting attorney before agreeing to pay any civil penalty. Paying may constitute an admission of guilt, even if you’re not guilty. The prosecution may even use the payment against you in court. Your attorney may be able to bargain a plea deal, lessening your charge if you agree to pay the fine.

Prostitution

Florida law makes it a crime to commit or solicit an act of prostitution. Prostitution offenses are classified by how often the individual committed the crime. First offenders are usually charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, and may face penalties of up to six months in jail, up to $500 in fines, or both. Those convicted may also have to take mandatory HIV tests or a sexually transmitted disease course.

In addition to criminal charges, individuals convicted of prostitution may also face a civil penalty of $5,000.

Public Intoxication

Florida law classifies public intoxication as a second-degree misdemeanor. A public intoxication conviction can have severe consequences for job applications, college admissions, and professional licensing. If someone is arrested and convicted three times within 12 months, the drinker would be classified as a habitual offender and could be admitted to a rehab facility.

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct could be charged as either a first- or second-degree misdemeanor in the state of Florida. In some instances, the crime may be charged as a felony, bringing much harsher potential penalties. As a second-degree charge, penalties are much less severe, and those convicted may avoid jail time or fines. Instead, a judge may sentence you to community service, counseling, or other diversion programs.

However, it’s important to remember that alternatives to jail and fines are a privilege, not a right. If you do not attend community service or counseling sessions or fail to complete a diversion program, a judge may sentence you to jail or impose large fines.

Contact the Experienced Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been charged with a second-degree misdemeanor in Central Florida, reach out to The Umansky Law Firm. Our team of legal professionals includes former Florida state prosecutors who can anticipate the state’s case against you. Our dedicated attorneys will fight for you to receive the best possible outcome for your case.

To schedule your free consultation, call (407) 228-3838 or complete our online contact form. We believe that everyone deserves a second chance, so let us fight for yours.