You might wonder where your life is headed if you have a 3rd-degree felony in Florida hanging over your head.
You probably know that felonies are serious offenses and that a conviction for a felony could land you in prison.
The truth is, any felony conviction could have serious repercussions for you and your family.
We know it is easier said than done, but try to stay calm if you have a pending third-degree felony in Florida.
You don’t have to walk this path alone.
One of the first things you should do when hit with criminal charges is to speak with an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer.
If you are in Orlando or the surrounding areas, the criminal defense law firm of Moses and Rooth is the one to call. We have over three decades of combined criminal trial experience.
As former state prosecutors, we have handled thousands of cases. Our experience, skill, and commitment to achieving justice for our clients give you the best chance for a favorable outcome.
What Is a 3rd Degree Felony in Florida?
Florida law categorizes crimes as either felonies or misdemeanors. Within the broad categories of misdemeanors and felonies, Florida law further classifies crimes by degree.
Misdemeanors can be either first-degree or second-degree. Felony classifications, from the most to least serious, are capital offenses, first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree.
Although third-degree felonies are the least serious of the categories, they are still felonies and need to be taken very seriously.
You can start protecting your rights by contacting experienced defense attorneys who know how to make a difference for their clients.
What Are Common Examples of Third-Degree Felonies in Florida?
Florida law classifies many different types of crimes as third-degree felonies.
Moreover, the prosecutor can upgrade some misdemeanors to third-degree felonies depending on the underlying facts of the offense. Your prior record could elevate a misdemeanor to a felony if you have one.
The most commonly charged third-degree felonies in Florida are:
- Possession of controlled substances, except marijuana and some prescription medications;
- Aggravated stalking;
- Aggravated assault;
- Felony battery;
- Leaving the scene of a car accident that caused an injury;
- DUI with a crash causing serious bodily injury;
- Third-offense DUI within 10 years;
- Carrying a concealed firearm without a license;
- Child abuse or neglect; and
- Resisting arrest.
This list is only a sampling of the crimes listed as a 3rd-degree felony in Florida.
3rd Degree-Felony in Florida Punishment
According to the Florida Statutes, the maximum sentence for a third-degree felony conviction is five years in prison.
The judge can also give you a $5,000 fine and put you on probation for five years. This is true even if you are facing a third-degree felony in Florida first offense.
Most third-degree felonies do not have minimum-mandatory sentences.
That means your sentencing judge has discretion on your sentencing and can alter any suggested sentence in a way that seems appropriate given the facts of the case.
Florida developed a Criminal Punishment Code that must be used in all felony cases. The state attorney holds the responsibility to complete the scoresheet.
The defense must obtain a copy of the scoresheet, look it over carefully, and can object to any incorrect or misleading information.
After both parties have looked it over, the sentencing judge must review the sentencing scoresheet established by the Code before handing down a sentence.
The scoresheet helps the judge calculate a fair punishment for the offender.
It considers the nature of the charges, the person’s prior record, any injuries or losses suffered by a victim, and aggravating factors like the presence or use of a firearm.
Calculating all of the variables on the scoresheet gives the judge an appropriate sentence. However, if aggravating circumstances are present, the judge has the discretion to give you a harsher sentence.
And if mitigating circumstances are present, the judge can also give you a lighter sentence—often called a downward departure. Your attorney can argue your case for leniency before the judge makes their final decision.
What Are the Conditions of Probation for a 3rd Degree Felony in Florida?
As mentioned above, you could get up to five years of probation for a third-degree felony conviction. Probation is designed to help you to stay out of jail and teach you new behaviors so you don’t go back to jail.
Your probationary terms could include:
- Regularly reporting to your probation officer;
- Attending drug or alcohol counseling;
- Performing community service;
- Paying restitution to injured victims;
- Attending and completing anger management classes;
- Attending and completing domestic violence classes;
- Completing DUI classes, where appropriate;
- Obtaining permission before traveling out of state;
- Wearing a GPS device;
- Remaining confined to your home; or
- Staying away from or having no contact with the people or places connected to the crime.
The court could impose other conditions based on your charges, the facts of the case, and your criminal record.
Do I Have a Chance to Avoid Prison for a 3rd Degree Felony in Florida?
Each case is different because the people involved and the facts are unique. As a result, it is impossible to predict how your case will turn out before examining the specifics.
However, our firm has 30 years of collective experience from which to draw. As prosecutors and defense attorneys, we have handled thousands of cases in our careers.
We have seen just about everything, and we can look at the facts of your case to give you a good idea of how your case may proceed.
If you maintain your innocence, then we will passionately fight for you at trial. We’ve developed sophisticated trial skills during our careers, and—unlike some other firms—we are not the least bit afraid to take your case to a jury.
In fact, if this is the route you ultimately take, we welcome the opportunity to represent you in court.
We aren’t gunslingers, however. We know how to negotiate with the prosecution, and we have enjoyed routine success in persuading judges to see things our way.
If you want to limit your exposure to prison by entering a plea, then we will work with you to get the best deal possible. We could also ask the judge to withhold adjudication.
Am I Eligible for a Withheld Adjudication?
Withholding adjudication allows a person with a felony charge to admit responsibility while technically avoiding a conviction.
The judge will put you under strict conditions, and if you fulfill your obligations, then the judge will resolve the case without a conviction.
But Florida law imposes strict limits on when a judge can withhold adjudication. If you have felony charges because of a domestic offense or you have had the benefit of a withheld adjudication before, then you might not qualify.
A felony conviction comes with significant collateral consequences. You could lose your driver’s license, lose your right to vote, and lose your right to possess a firearm—even if you never went to prison.
Additionally, you must disclose felony convictions on job applications, housing applications, and school applications. Therefore, you should consider hiring an attorney who has considerable experience handling cases like yours.
The stakes are too high to trust your case to less-qualified counsel.
Aggressive Defense for Your Third-Degree Felony in Florida
When your freedom is on the line, turn to the Orlando criminal defense lawyers from Moses and Rooth.
We have spent our entire careers practicing criminal law, so we have the experience you can trust to get you through this trying time. Contact us today at 407-449-1538 to schedule your free consultation.