Being arrested is stressful for anyone but if the charge is for a felony offense, it poses the greatest risk to your liberty and future. Felonies carry harsher sentences and longer-term repercussions than misdemeanors, and violent felonies can result in even more severe consequences, such as longer prison terms and mandatory minimum sentences.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a felony offense, you need to retain an experienced criminal lawyer before you answer any questions from the police or prosecutors. Call a Tampa criminal defense attorney at the Sulte Law Firm so we can start building a solid defense for your case.
The Consequences of a Tampa Felony Conviction
In Florida, felonies are classified based on the severity of the offense. While the exact sentence imposed for felony convictions depends on factors such as the nature of the offense, your criminal history, and any aggravating factors or mitigating circumstances, a felony may result in some or all of the following outcomes.
- Permanent criminal record
- Loss of driving privileges
- Expensive fines
- Sex offender registration
- Restraining orders
- Loss of the right to vote, own a gun, or perform jury service
- Incarceration for anywhere from over a year to life
- The death penalty
In addition to these consequences, a Tampa felony conviction can impair your future in ways like the following:
- You won’t be able to work in certain occupations or apply for or renew some types of professional licenses.
- You may face a sex offender registration requirement that can do irreparable damage to your personal relationships.
- You could lose out on educational opportunities due to ineligibility for financial aid.
- If you aren’t a US citizen, you could face ineligibility for naturalization and even be deported.
Don’t take chances with your freedom or your future. Get the Sulte Law Firm in your corner right away.
Florida Felony Categories: an Overview
There are several felony classifications in Florida. Depending on the nature of the offense, you could be charged with a capital felony, life felony, or a first, second, or third-degree felony.
Florida’s capital felonies, which are punishable by death, include murder, capital drug trafficking, armed kidnapping, and some felony crimes that involve death or sexual components.
Those convicted of a life felony will be fined $15,000 and spend the rest of their lives in prison without any chance of parole or probation. Life felonies include murder, severe child abuse, rape, and human trafficking.
Felonies of the First Degree
In Florida, felony offenses of the first degree are usually punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Examples include burglary with an assault or battery, carjacking, drug trafficking, and home invasions.
Felonies of the Second Degree
A conviction for a felony of the second degree can result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000. Aggravated battery with a weapon, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, and receiving stolen property are all second-degree felonies in Florida.
Felonies of the Third Degree
Felonies of the third degree are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. In Florida, aggravated assault, possession of cocaine, and leaving the scene of an accident are third-degree felonies.
Do You Have Prior Felony Convictions?
Those who have previously been convicted of two or more felonies and are convicted of a third may be sentenced to a longer prison term under this state’s recidivist sentencing laws. This law is often referred to as the “Three Strikes Law.” If your record includes at least two prior felony convictions, obtaining legal defense is even more critical.
When Should I Call a Tampa Felony Lawyer?
You should hire a Hillsborough County felony attorney as soon as you’ve been arrested or believe that you are about to be.
Never forget that police officer are well-trained investigators. They know how to convince you that talking to them is in your best interest. They may say that answering a few questions will “clear things up” but what they won’t tell you is that anything you say can be used against you later.
If the police want to talk to you about a felony crime, you should contact a felony defense lawyer. In most cases, answering police questions won’t help your case. Having an attorney on hand to advocate for you can ensure that you don’t unintentionally say something that could harm you.
Should I Waive A Speedy Trial?
According to the Speedy Trial Rule, once an individual has been arrested, they must be brought to trial within 175 days of their arrest if charged with a felony or 90 days if charged with a misdemeanor. This practice ensures that defendants have their case heard within a fair and reasonable time frame.
Defense attorneys often waive speedy trials in order to obtain discovery in the case and to prepare for trial, although once these rights are waived, they can be reasserted by filing a demand for a speedy trial. Your felony defense attorney will advise you when waiving your rights may be in your best interests.
How Can the Sulte Law Firm Help Me with my Felony Case?
At the Sulte Law Firm, we will do everything we can to help you avoid a conviction. Whenever reduction or dismissal of the charges is not possible, our Tampa felony defense attorneys will explore alternative sentencing options such as work release, rehabilitation, and house arrest to keep you out of jail.
Legal rights are granted to every individual under the United States Constitution, and these rights need to be protected. It is our firm belief that all people are innocent until proven guilty, and we use practical and effective legal strategies to achieve the best results for your case. We’ll also be there for you at every stage of the process, from arrest to outcome, making sure that overzealous prosecutors don’t jeopardize your rights.
Arrested? Call a Tampa Felony Lawyer Immediately!
If you are accused of a felony, you don’t have to be intimidated by law enforcement or face a judge alone. Contact the Sulte Law Firm in Tampa, Florida to learn more about your legal options and how we can assist you in pursuing the best possible outcome for your case. Consultations are free, so if you’ve been arrested, let your next call be to our office.