Felony Crime Defense Attorneys in Florida
A felony conviction in Florida often results in spending at least one year in prison. However, prison sentences can span several years—and even a lifetime. Additionally, convicted felons face long-term consequences once their punishment is fulfilled. Felons can lose the right to work in certain industries, obtain certain professional licenses, serve on juries, and vote.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony offense, the criminal defense team at The Morris Firm will do its best to get the best possible outcome. Our Pensacola felony defense lawyer has over a decade of experience handling thousands of criminal cases, including some of the most complex and high-profile cases. We can investigate your arrest, gather and assess evidence, and find any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you or determine if the police had violated your constitutional rights.
Do not wait to call (850) 503-2626 today for a consultation to discuss your case.
Why You Need a Lawyer for a Felony Defense in Florida
Felonies are serious crimes, and a conviction carries heavy consequences that will have a profound effect on your life. Not only will you have to contend with jail time and heavy fines, but even after your sentence is complete, your record as a felon will disqualify you for many jobs, as well as certain licenses and certifications. An experienced felony defense lawyer can determine whether the police violated any of your rights during the arrest, and investigate the circumstances of your case, collecting any potentially exculpatory evidence and possibly getting the charges against you reduced or dismissed.
Why You Should Hire The Morris Firm for Your Felony Defense
For over a decade, The Morris Firm has successfully defended thousands of clients in Pensacola facing serious felony charges. When you hire The Morris Firm, you bring in a powerful legal advocate that will work tirelessly to make sure your rights are protected and that you are able to take full advantage of any exculpatory evidence. We take pride in our ability to provide top-quality and personalized legal services to each one of our clients. When we work with you, your success becomes our mission.
Felony Crimes in Florida
Some of the felony crimes in this state include:
- Grand theft
- Drug trafficking
- Sexual offenses, including rape
- Battery of a firefighter or law enforcement officer
- Child abuse
- Aggravated assault or battery
- Violently resisting an officer
- Possession of controlled substances
Each offense may be treated with a varying degree of seriousness, depending on the circumstances of the crime and the prior convictions of the perpetrator. Florida’s three strikes law requires harsher sentences for a third felony conviction for a variety of crimes.
10-20-Life in Florida
Florida statute 775.087, also known as the “10-20-Life” law, contains mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for crimes committed with certain weapons. It requires harsher sentences for the use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Under this law, producing a firearm while committing certain felonies mandates at least a 10-year prison sentence. Firing the weapon mandates a 20-year sentence, and shooting someone mandates a sentence of 25 years to life no matter whether the victim is injured or killed.
The law establishes minimum sentences beyond the 10-20-Life rules, including:
- 15 years if the offender is in possession of a machine gun or semiautomatic rifle with a high-capacity box magazine;
- 8 years for possessing a machine gun or semiautomatic firearm while committing battery on a person 65 or older or on an officer;
- 5 years for aggravated battery on an officer;
- 3 years for aggravated assault on an officer, aggravated assault with a firearm, or aggravated assault on a person 65 or older;
- 3 years for felons possessing a firearm.
The law contains minimum sentences for certain drug offenses. Depending on the type of drug, the amount, and whether it resulted in anyone’s death, minimum penalties may increase to 7, 15, or 25 years, or to life in prison or the death penalty.
Felony Degrees in Florida
In Florida, there are five degrees of felonies: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, life, & capital felony. In Florida, felonies are punishable by more than one year in prison and hefty fines. Being convicted of a felony charge will result in the loss of certain civil rights and could lead to the death penalty.
The five degrees of felonies in Florida from the most to least serious are:
- Capital felony: Punishable by death or life in prison. Examples include premeditated murder, capital sexual battery, and capital drug trafficking.
- Life felony: Punishable by a term of imprisonment for life or by a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment. The maximum fine is $15,000. Life felonies include certain sex offenses where the victim is younger than 12, first-degree murder, and certain offenses involving the use of a weapon or firearm that are enhanced because of the 10-20-life statute.
- First-degree felony: Punishable by a maximum of 30 years in state prison, a fine of $10,000, or both. Some examples of first-degree felonies include aggravated child abuse, certain sexual battery offenses, robbery with a weapon, home-invasion robbery, an array of grand-theft charges, aggravated child abuse, racketeering, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver within a 1000’ of a specified area, and burglary with assault or battery.
- Second-degree felony: Punishable by a maximum of 15 years in state prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. Examples of second-degree felonies include possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver, lewd and lascivious battery where the victim is older than 12 but younger than 16 years old, dealing in stolen property, DUI manslaughter, and an array of grand-theft charges where the value of the stolen property exceeds $20,000.
- Third-degree felony: Punishable by a maximum of five years in state prison, a $5,000 fine, or both. Some examples include aggravated assault, child abuse without great bodily harm, possession of a controlled substance, and grand theft.
- Depending on your criminal history and the crime being prosecuted, there are also certain sentencing enhancements that can apply.
Some example of these enhancements include:
- Habitual felony offender (HFO)
- Violent career criminal (VCC)
- Habitual violent felony offenders (HVFO)
- Prison releasee reoffender (PRO)
If the government has filed notice seeking one of these sentencing enhancements or if you are concerned that you may qualify for one of these enhancements, our Pensacola felony defense attorney can help you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Felonies in Florida
If you’ve been charged with a felony in the State of Florida, you probably have a lot of questions right now. Your attorney is the most reliable source for information about your own case, but here are a few answers to common questions that may be helpful.
Can I be certified as a law enforcement, correctional, or correctional probation officer in the State of Florida if I have a prior felony arrest?
Pursuant to Florida statute 943.13(4), if you plead guilty, no contest, or are convicted of a felony, you are ineligible to be certified as an officer in this state. If the felony charges are dismissed or nolle prossed (dismissed under a nolle prosequi motion), any issues regarding a person’s moral character are determined by the employing agency. You aren’t barred by statute from being certified.
If I have a felony conviction, how can I get my voting rights restored?
If you are convicted of murder or felony sexual offense, you must apply for clemency under section 8, article V of the Florida Constitution. See the Florida Commission on Offender Review website for more details. If you are convicted of any other felony offense, your voting rights will be restored after completion of all terms of your sentence, including parole or probation, or you may alternatively apply for clemency to restore your voting rights. Learn more about felony expungement here.
When does driving under the influence (DUI) become a felony?
Florida statute 316.193 details penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. A DUI may become a felony if any of the following factors are present:
- You are convicted of a DUI for the third time in 10 years;
- You get a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction;
- You caused serious bodily injury to or killed another person while driving drunk or intoxicated.
Killing someone while driving drunk is charged as DUI manslaughter, which is considered a second-degree felony. It may be charged as a first-degree felony if you fail to render aid (as in, you commit a hit-and-run). DUI manslaughter carries a minimum sentence of four years in prison.
When does drug possession become a felony?
Almost any drug possession charge may be filed as a felony, depending on the type of drug and the amount in possession. Fewer than 20 grams of marijuana is typically considered a misdemeanor. Enhancements may be added to the charge for cases that involve large amounts of the drug, an intent to sell, or a location near a school or community center. These factors may increase the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony or to a felony of a higher degree.
Speak With a Pensacola Felony Defense Lawyer Right Away
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a felony, you’re going through a stressful and frightening ordeal. You have your freedom, your future, and your family to worry about. You need an advocate with years of legal experience who will work tirelessly to make sure you get the best possible resolution to your case.
Contact The Morris Firm today at (850) 503-2626 to learn about your available legal options.