Miami Felony Attorney
Under Florida law, crimes are divided into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. While a misdemeanor is far less serious, a felony conviction can have severe consequences, such as imprisonment, fines, loss of numerous rights, deportation, and a permanent criminal record. With so much at stake, it is crucial to have the right criminal defense attorney in your corner.
Valiente Law has a sterling reputation for providing individuals accused of crimes in South Florida with first-rate legal representation. Well-versed in the Florida and Federal Criminal Punishment Code, our legal team has the skills and experience that can mean the difference between freedom and prison. If you have been charged with a felony, we will vigorously defend you and work tirelessly to protect your rights.
Miami Felony Classifications
The most serious felonies are capital felonies and life felonies, punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment, respectively. Other felony classifications in Florida include:
- Felonies of the First Degree — punishable by up to 30 years in prison or probation and a fine up to $10,000
- Felonies of the Second Degree — punishable by up to 15 years in prison or probation and a fine up to $10,000
- Felonies of the Third Degree — punishable by up to 5 years in prison or probation, and a fine up to $5,000
Common felony offenses include:
- Aggravated assault — the commission of an assault that involves the use of a deadly weapon. Aggravated assault is classified as a second degree felony.
- Burglary — entering or remaining in a dwelling, structure or conveyance with the intent to commit a criminal offense. Burglary can be charged as a first, second, or third degree felony.
- Child abuse — generally defined as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, or abandonment of a child by a parent or caretaker. Depending on the circumstances, child abuse may be charged as a life, first, second or third-degree felony.
- Carrying a concealed weapon — a concealed carry permit will only be issued to individuals who are at least 21 years-old, U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens, and eligible to own a gun under both state and federal law. Carrying a concealed firearm without a permit is considered a third degree felony.
- Drug trafficking — the intentional sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, possession, or transportation of a controlled substance, above statutory weight limits. Depending on the classification and amount, punishment for drug trafficking ranges from a minimum of 3 years in prison and fines up to $50,000 to life without parole.
- Grand theft — knowingly obtaining, using or attempting to another person’s property valued at $300 or greater with the intent to either temporarily or permanently deny the owner of the property.
- Murder — the intentional killing of another person, charged as a capital, life, first, second, or third-degree felony. First degree murder is a capital felony, punishable by death.
- Kidnapping — the confinement, abduction, or imprisonment of another person against her or his will, considered a first degree felony.
- Robbery — the taking of money or property from another person’s possession in which there is the use of force, violence, assault or putting in fear. If the crime involves the use of a weapon, it is charged as a first-degree felony, otherwise robbery is a felony in the second degree.
- Sexual assault — any sexual activity forced on the alleged victim without his or her consent, including inappropriate touching, child sexual abuse, forced penetration, sexual intercourse or kissing. Depending on the circumstances sexual assault can be charged a first, second, life or capital felony.
Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code
In Florida, a scoring system under the Criminal Punishment Code (CPC) is used to determine the minimum allowable sentence. Under the CPC, a felony is assigned an “Offense Level” between 1 and 10 which carries a correlating point value. To determine a score, crimes are designated as “Primary Offense,” “Additional Offenses” and “Prior Record” and assigned a total number of amount of points under a legislated ranking system.
Generally, the more serious the crime, the higher the ranking and the number of assigned points. A score of more than 44 points will result in a minimum sentence of 1 year in prison. Important to note is that Florida has abolished parole. Additionally, the CPC assesses additional points under the following circumstances:
- Victim injury
- Legal status violations
- Community sanction violations
- Firearm/weapons violations
- Prior serious felonies
- Enhancement multipliers
It is worth noting that individuals with two or more prior felony convictions face enhanced penalties under Florida law. These enhancements can be some or all of the following designations (each with different qualifications and sentencing enhancements):
- Violent career criminals
- Habitual felony offenders
- Habitual violent felony offenders
- Three-time violent felony offenders
- Prison releasee re-offender (PRRP)
Additional Consequences of a Miami Felony Conviction
In addition to prison time and a heavy fine, a felony conviction will result in a permanent criminal record which cannot be expunged. This can make it difficult to find a job, obtain a professional license, rent a home or obtain a college loan from the government. You will also forfeit some of your civil rights, including the right to own a firearm and the right to vote. Not to mention that if you are not a United States citizen almost any felony conviction can result in your deportation.
Contact Our Miami Felony Attorney
If you have been charged with a felony in Florida, you face serious consequences, including significant prison time. The best way to preserve your freedom and your reputation is by working with our skilled criminal defense attorneys. Guided by the belief that anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty, we will tirelessly defend you.
Our legal team will take the time to explain all of your rights, advise you of your options, and build the best line of defense. By conducting a thorough investigation, collecting evidence, identifying and interviewing witnesses, and collaborating with a team of excellent private investigators and criminal experts, we are committed to winning an acquittal. When you become our client, you can rest assured that we will never stop fighting for you. Please contact our office today to set up a free consultation.