A felony conviction can result in very serious penalties, including imprisonment in Florida prison, steep fines, and other devastating consequences on your life. A felony conviction can reduce your chances of finding a job, make you ineligible to receive financial aid for further education, make you ineligible to rent a house or an apartment, result in a loss of certain civil rights, or make you ineligible to hold public office or hold certain state licenses. Some of the most common felony offenses in Florida are:
Orlando Felony Defense Attorney
In order to receive your best possible defense to a felony charge, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact the attorneys at Hale & Hale to discuss the facts of your felony charge, and to determine if there are potential defenses to mitigating factors to your felony offense. To potentially avoid very harsh punishments, call the law office of Hale & Hale for a consultation at (407) 425-4640.
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Penalties for a Felony Conviction in Florida
According to §§ 775.082 and 775.083 of the Florida Statutes, felony charges in Florida can result in any of the following punishments:
Capital Felony – This type of felony is punishable by death or life imprisonment without parole.
Life Felony – Life felonies can incur prison sentences up to life imprisonment, depending on the crime and previous convictions and/or fines not more than $15,000.
Felony of the First Degree – This type of felony can result in imprisonment up to 30 years or life, depending on the offense and/or fines up to $10,000.
Felony of the Second Degree – A conviction for a felony of the second degree can lead to 15 years in state prison and/or fines not exceeding $10,000.
Felony of the Third Degree – Felonies of the third degree can incur five years imprisonment in a state prison for five years or less and/or fines not more than $5,000.
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Felony Criminal Procedure
Once you have been charged with a felony in Florida, you will have to undergo the following steps in the pre-trial and trial process.
Arraignment - This occurs in a superior court, where bail is set, the charges are read, the defendant enters a plea, and the defendant will announce their attorney of record.
Preliminary Hearing - At this hearing, the judge determines if there is enough evidence to prosecute the offense at trial, if there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that the defendant is likely the person who committed the crime. This hearing is conducted solely in front of a judge, and not a jury.
Pre-Trial Conference - At the pre-trial conference, the defense attorney and prosecuting attorney will attempt to enter a plea bargain, change the initial charge or reduce the number of felony counts.
Trial - If no plea bargain is agreed upon, the defendant will proceed to trial. At trial, the defendant will be permitted the opportunity to have a jury hear their case, which is made up of fellow members of the community. Depending on whether the defendant chose a jury trial, the jury or judge will determine whether the defendant is innocent or guilty of the charges, after hearing both sides present their evidence. The prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict the defendant of the charges against them.
Sentencing - If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will determine the applicable sentence based on the crime the defendant is convicted of, whether they had a prior criminal record, and whether they used a deadly weapon to commit the crime.
Appeal - Upon a conviction for a criminal offense, the defendant has 30 days to file notice of the appeal after the judgment and sentencing is final. Whether or not an appeal is in the defendant’s best interest depends on if some error occurred in the trial process. An appeal should not be made solely because the defendant disagreed with the outcome of the trial. An appeal would be applicable if the jury instructions were erroneous, a pre-trial motion was incorrectly overruled by the judge, or there was insufficient evidence presented at trial for the defendant’s conviction.
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Eliminate Your Felony Criminal Record
Certain felony convictions may meet the eligibility requirements to be sealed or expunged from a criminal record. However, many different types of felonies are not eligible for sealing or expunction, and the process to seal or expunge your criminal record can be difficult. The benefit of having your felony criminal record expunged is that it is basically considered destroyed, and the general public and many governmental entities will not have access to your criminal record. However, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will retain a copy of the record for limited purposes. If your felony criminal record is sealed, the general public will not be able to see you have a criminal record, but some government agencies will be allowed to access your criminal record for certain reasons. Read more about felony criminal record sealing and expunction in Orange County, Florida.
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Hale & Hale, P.A. | Orlando Felony Defense Attorneys
Contact the attorneys at Hale & Hale, P.A. to discuss the facts of your felony charges in Orange County, Florida, and the surrounding areas of Seminole County, Osceola County, Winter Park and Kissimmee. An experienced criminal defense attorney will make every effort to help you avoid the most severe punishments and penalties for your felony offense. Contact Hale & Hale, P.A. at (407) 425-4640 for a consultation about your felony arrest in Orlando, Florida.