1005 N. Marion St.
Tampa, FL 33602
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Attorney for a Felony Investigation in Tampa, FL

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., handle serious felony cases throughout Hillsborough County and the surrounding areas of Tampa Bay. Call today to speak directly with an experienced criminal defense attorney about the facts of your case. Call 813-250-0500.

Under Florida law, felony charges are classified as felonies in the third degree, second degree or first degree. A felony can also be charged as either a life felony or a capital felony punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. See Florida Statute Section 775.08, 775.081 and 775.082. Any felony charge is serious because it can result in a criminal record and felony conviction.


What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor in Florida?

Felony cases are prosecuted in Circuit Court while misdemeanor cases are prosecuted in County Court. Misdemeanor crimes in Florida are less serious and are generally classified as either a first-degree misdemeanor or a second-degree misdemeanor.

While misdemeanors are only punishable by jail time in the county jail, a felony is punishable by incarceration in Florida State Prison.  


Felony Classifications in Florida

Florida law provides for five different felony classifications. The potential penalties and punishments are set out in Florida Statute §§ 775.082 and 775.083. In addition to the statutory maximum penalties, crimes in Florida are sentenced according to Florida's Criminal Punishment Code ("CPC") and sentencing guidelines (often called the "score sheet").

Each felony offense has a numerical value under a special ranking system set by the Florida legislature. The higher the ranking for the offense, the more points on the CPC score sheet. If the points are less than 44, then the judge is not required to impose a prison sentence. If the points exceed 44, then the person is subject to a minimum term of imprisonment under the guidelines.


Third Degree Felony in Florida

In Florida, a third-degree felony is generally punishable by up to five (5) years in Florida State Prison and/or a $5,000.00 fine. Alternatively, the court can sentence a person on a third-degree felony to probation for up to five years which is supervised by the Florida Department of Corrections ("DOC").

Examples of a third degree felony in Florida include:

  • Felony DUI with Serious Bodily Injury
  • Felony DUI - Third within Ten Years
  • Felony DUI - Fourth Lifetime
  • Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell
  • Possession of Marijuana More than 20 Grams
  • Cultivation of Cannabis
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Carrying a Concealed Firearm
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Stalking
  • Grand Theft less than $20,000
  • Resisting with Violence
  • Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer

Second Degree Felony in Florida

In Florida, a second degree felony is punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in Florida State Prison and/or a $10,000 fine. As an alternative to jail time, the court can sentence the person to up to fifteen years on probation.


First Degree Felony in Florida

In Florida, a third degree felony is punishably by up to third (30) years in Florida State Prison and/or a 10,000 fine.


Life Felony

In Florida, a life felony is punishable by life in prison and a $15,000 fine.


Capital Felony

In Florida, a capital felony is punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. An example of a capital felony is first degree murder.

Life felonies are punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000. (Fla. Stat. §§ 775.082, 775.083.)


Information Center

Florida Misdemeanor Charges - Learn more about crimes charged as either a first or second degree misdemeanor under Florida law.

Felony Probation in Florida - For felony cases that require probation, the probation is supervised by the Department of Corrections. Visit the website for the Florida Department of Corrections to learn more about the re-entry resource directory, definitions, frequently-asked-questions and probation offices. The website also includes monthly and annual publications as well as special reports with the most recent statistics.

Obtaining a Florida Criminal History and Felony Record Information - The Division of Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is the central repository for criminal history information and arrest records for the State of Florida. Besides maintaining the criminal history and arrest record information, the FDLE CJIS has the responsibility of providing public access to this information when requested.


Finding a Felony Attorney in Florida

After an arrest for a felony offense in Florida, contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We represent clients on a variety of first, second and third-degree felony offenses throughout the Tampa Bay area. 

Call 813-250-0500 to discuss your case with an attorney during a free and confidential consultation. 


This article was last updated on Friday, February 10, 2017.

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