In Florida, offenses can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Felony offenses are the more severe of the two, resulting in greater penalties. For example, a third-degree felony (the lowest of the three felony degrees in the state) could result in a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a fine of up to $5,000. In contrast, a first-degree misdemeanor (the higher of the two misdemeanor degrees) is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Because a felony conviction carries more serious consequences, it would be preferable to have felony charges reduced to a misdemeanor, and in some circumstances, working toward a reduction is possible.
Offenses that Can Be Classified as a Felony or Misdemeanor
To attempt to have charges reduced, the offense first needs to be one that can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. For example, possession of marijuana can be charged at either level, depending on the amount of the substance allegedly on the person at the time of arrest. With the help of skilled legal advocacy, it is possible to fight to have these types of charges reduced. However, some offenses can be charged only as a felony, such as possession of cocaine, and can’t be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Charge Bargain Negotiations
An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. In such cases, the defendant will is held accountable for some of the charges in exchange for a lesser sentencing. A charge bargain of this sort allows the defendant and prosecutor a little more control over the outcome of the case, as they work toward a resolution that is favorable for both parties.
Challenging the Prosecutor’s Case
If negotiations don’t result in a charge reduction, the defendant’s attorney can work to reveal weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case that could lead to lesser charges. For example, the attorney can question the manner of the arrest, present evidence challenging the circumstances that brought forth the original charges, or challenge the reliability of the witnesses testifying in the case. When defense strategies are effectively employed, they could show that felony charges do not accurately reflect the facts of the case.
Retain the Services of Our Hard-Hitting Team at The Law Office of David A. Webster, P.A.
A felony conviction has more serious consequences on a person’s life than a misdemeanor conviction. An attorney with an in-depth knowledge of the legal system can work with their client to get charges reduced, or in some cases, dismissed.
If you have been accused of committing an offense, it is imperative to retain the services of an experienced lawyer. At The Law Office of David A. Webster, P.A., our lawyers have over 30 years of combined legal experience and can provide the counsel you need to work toward a favorable result in your case. We will thoroughly review your circumstances and begin developing a legal defense that meets your specific needs.
For legal counsel from a team dedicated to protecting your rights, call us at (407) 326-0650 or contact us online.