In the justice system, criminal offenses are classified into categories that differ from state to state. These offenses are labeled under three commonly used terms: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Each of these are decided based on the severity of the crime and each hold their own types of consequences. Infractions are the lessor of the charges while felonies hold the highest penalties. In this blog, I will touch on the differences of each and the types of crimes and consequences associated with them.
What is an Infraction?
Typically when one hears the term infraction in law enforcement, they are referring to traffic violations. Infractions are considered petty offenses that are not subjected to jail time as a punishment. These are handled quickly in court and are usually resolved by the payment of court costs and fees or fines.
Some crimes that are considered infractions include: speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, running a stop sign, littering, or noise violations. Once any related fees are taken care of, these infractions do not appear on your criminal record.
What is a Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors are more severe than infractions and can appear on your criminal record. They are spilt into two categories: first degree misdemeanors and second degree misdemeanors. The maximum punishment for these types of crimes is up to a year in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
A few crimes that fall into the misdemeanor category in the state of Florida are domestic violence, trespassing, petit theft, first time DUI, driving with a suspended license, disorderly conduct, and reckless driving.
What is a Felony?
A felony is the most serious form of crime one can be charged with. These crimes involve harm to be done to another person. Not surprisingly, these are the crimes that are punishable by prison time and even the death penalty in states where it is still in place – the lessor of punishments would include at least a year in prison.
Here are some sentencing examples that fall under the category of felonies:
- Capital felony (death or life imprisonment without parole)
- Life felony (40 years to life)
- First degree felony (30 years)
- Second degree felony (15 years)
- Third degree felony (5 years)
If you or someone you love are being charged with a crime, the severity of the specific crime will determine which of these categories it will fall into. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can increase the chances of having your charge reduced resulting in a lessor punishment – or maybe even none at all. Russell Spatz has over four decades of experience in Florida and a strong record of representing those who have been accused of crimes. Give him a call today at (305) 442-0200 to set up a consultation to discuss your case.