A criminal case is a case brought by the government against a natural person or a corporation. In every criminal case liberty is at stake to some degree. Depending on the severity of the offense a person who is accused of a crime could face anywhere between a maximum of sixty days in jail for a very minor offense, to up to life or even death for a very serious offense.
Types Of Criminal Cases
Misdemeanor offenses are those that carry a maximum penalty of one year in the county jail or less. In Florida these break down into misdemeanors of the second degree and misdemeanors of the first degree.
A misdemeanor of the second degree is punishable by a maximum of up to sixty days in the county jail. Misdemeanors of the second degree include driving with license suspended, trespass to a car, and disorderly intoxication. For some second degree misdemeanors the accused is entitled to a jury trial, for others he or she is not.
A misdemeanor of the first degree is punishable by a maximum penalty of up to a year in the county jail. Misdemeanors of the first degree include trespass, petit theft, and battery. For all first degree misdemeanors the accused is entitled to a jury trial.
Felonies are the most serious offenses a person can face in Florida. Felonies range from third degree felonies up to Capital felonies.
A third degree felony is a felony that is punishable by up to a maximum of five years in a state prison. These include burglary of a car, resisting an officer with violence, felony battery, false imprisonment, possession of a controlled substance, and grand theft auto, among others.
A second degree felony is a felony that is punishable by up to a maximum of fifteen years in a state prison. These include burglary of a home, aggravated battery, robbery, and sexual battery, among others.
A first degree felony is a felony that is punishable by up to a maximum of thirty years in a state prison. These include the sale of cocaine within one thousand feet of a school, trafficking of certain amounts of a controlled substance, sexual battery of a helpless victim, among others.
A first degree felony punishable by life (PBL) is an offense for which the maximum potential penalty is life in a state prison. These include burglary with an assault or battery, armed robbery with a firearm or other deadly weapon, and kidnapping, among others.
A capital felony is an offense for which the penalty is death. In Florida this is a punishment reserved for first degree premeditated murder.
For all felony offenses the accused is entitled to a trial by jury.