Felonies


SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON
helps people defend against
Felonies.

There are so many felony offenses in the State of Florida that countless citizens violate these criminal statutes without even knowing.  Almost every aspect of our lives are regulated by criminal statutes.  Whether you are a person with no prior record who is charged with a felony and concerned about your record and your job, or you have been wrongfully charged, or you are concerned that you may be sentenced to jail or prison, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at SLG Law can help. 

Experience Matters!
Call us to discuss your felony case. 

What is a Felony?

A "felony," defined in Florida Statute Section 775.08(1), means:
any criminal offense that is punishable under the laws of this state, or that would be punishable if committed in this state, by death or imprisonment in a state penitentiary. "State penitentiary" shall include state correctional facilities.  A person shall be imprisoned in the state penitentiary for each sentence which, except an extended term, exceeds 1 year.
So, a felony is a crime that is punishable by more than 1 year in prison.
What kinds of felonies are there?

Under Florida Statute Section 775.081(2), there are 5 different classifications of felonies:

Capital Felony
Punishable by mandatory life or a death sentence

Life Felony
Punishable by life in prison

First Degree Felony
Punishable by up to 30 years in prison

Second Degree Felony
Punishable by up to 15 years in prison

Third Degree Felony
Punishable by up to 5 years in prison

What are the possible fines for a felony conviction?

Florida Statute Section 775.083(1) provides for the maximum possible fines that a judge can assess against you for a felony offense, unless otherwise provided in a specific felony offense statute:

Life Felony

Up to $15,000

First Degree Felony

Up to $10,000

Second Degree Felony

Up to $10,000

Third Degree Felony

Up to $5000

*   The judge can exceed these fines up to double the pecuniary gain derived from the offense or double the loss to the victim.  So, if the victim's loss was $15,000, the judge could assess a $30,000 fine.

What are some common felonies in Florida?

Murder
Aggravated Battery
Aggravated Assault
Aggravated Assault with a Firearm
Carrying a Concealed Firearm
Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
DUI Manslaughter
Drug Trafficking
Sale of Drugs
Drug Possession
Fleeing or Eluding a Law Enforcement Officer
Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer
Resisting an Officer With Violence
Robbery
Burglary
Dealing in Stolen Property
Grand Theft
Forgery and Uttering
Fraud Offenses
Child Abuse
Child Neglect
Sexual Battery
Lewd or Lascivious Molestation
Traveling to Meet a Minor

and more.

*   Click on one of the felony offenses above to learn more about them or click here to learn about other misdemeanor or felony offenses.

Will I become a convicted felon if this is my first felony?

Negotiations between defense attorneys and prosecutors almost always involve whether the client will be convicted of a felony, particularly if the client has no prior felony convictions.  Typically, the higher or more serious the felony, the less likely the prosecutor or judge are to agree to a withhold of adjudication.  Also, the more prior offenses you have, the less likely the judge and prosecutor are to agree to a withhold of adjudication.  Also, the law requires the judge to adjudicate you guilty in for certain felony offenses. 

Florida Statute Section 775.08435
provides when a judge can withhold adjudication as opposed to adjudicating you guilty, which would make you a convicted felon.

The court may not withhold adjudication of guilt for:
  • any capital, life or 1st Degree Felony
  • A 2nd Degree Felony unless:
    • the state attorney requests in writing that adjudication be withheld, or
    • the court makes written findings that the withholding of adjudication is reasonably justified based on mitigating circumstances.
* The court can't withhold adjudication on a 2nd Degree Felony if you have a prior withhold of adjudication on a felony.
  • a 3rd Degree Felony if you have a prior withholding of adjudication for a felony offense, unless:
    • the state attorney requests in writing that adjudication be withheld, or
    • the court makes written findings that the withholding of adjudication is reasonably justified based on mitigating circumstances.
* The court shall not withhold adjudication on a 3rd Degree Felony if you have 2 or more prior withholds of adjudication on a felonies.
* This provision does not apply to juvenile cases.

What are the consequences of a felony conviction?

A felony conviction drastically affects your civil rights and has other serious, life lasting consequences.  In addition to the incarceration and fines listed on this page, a felony conviction will result in the following consequences:
  • Can't possess a firearm or ammunition
  • Can't vote
  • Can't hold public office
  • Can't get your record sealed or expunged
  • May lose your job or be unable to obtain gainful employment
  • May be turned down for an apartment or house rental
  • May not be able to volunteer for children's events or sports leagues
  • May be ineligible for certain benefits
  • and more.

What if I have prior felony convictions and have been charged with a new felony?

The law provides for harsh maximum and minimum mandatory sentences for people who have certain convictions and a certain number of convictions.  In Jacksonville, there are two separate courtrooms designated specifically to "repeat offenders."  This is called ROC Court, or Repeat Offender Court.  These courtroom only handle cases that fall into one of the following enhancement statutes and the judges typically sentence people to substantially longer sentences than in other courtrooms.  Not all habitual felony offenders will be sent to ROC court. 

Florida Statute Section 775.084 & 775.082 provide for enhanced penalties if you are designated any of the following:

Habitual Felony Offender (HO)

Habitual Violent Felony Offender (HVFO)

Three Time Violent Felony Offender

Violent Career Criminal (VCC)

Prison Release Reoffender (PRR)

Who decides if I get designated for one of these enhancements?

The court shall decide if you are an habitual felony offender or habitual violent felony offender after notice is filed by the State Attorney's Office.  The State Attorney's Office files a written notice and serves it on you prior to sentencing.  The Court can decide that it is not necessary for the protection of the public to sentence you as a habitual felony offender,  habitual violent felony offender, or violent career criminal but must provide written reasons. 

The State Attorney's Office also files a written notice for three time violent felony offender, but the court must sentence you as a three time violent felony offender if you meet the criteria. 

What is an "Habitual Felony Offender?"

Florida Statute Section 775.084(1)(b) provides for habitual felony offender status. In a nutshell, this law provides for an enhanced maximum sentence for your current offense if you have 2 prior felony convictions, one of which you were convicted or released from prison, jail, probation or community control within 5 years.  The other felony conviction could have been at any time in the past.   One of the two convictions has to be for something other than drug possession.

An "Habitual Felony Offender" means a defendant for whom the court may impose an extended term of imprisonment if it finds that:
  • The Defendant has previously been convicted of any combination of 2 or more felonies in this state or other qualified offenses. 
  • The felony for which the defendant is to be sentence was committed:
  • while the defendant was serving a prison sentence or the sentence or court-ordered or lawfully imposed supervision that is imposed  as a result of a prior conviction for a felony or other qualified offense, or
  • within 5 years of the date of the conviction of the defendant's last prior felony or other qualified offense, or within 5 years of the defendant's release from a prison sentence, probation, community control, control release, conditional release, parole, or court ordered or lawfully imposed supervision or other sentence that is imposed as a result of a prior conviction for a felony or other qualified offense, whichever is later. 
  • The felony for which the defendant is to be sentenced, and one of the two prior felony convictions, is not a violation of s.893.13 relating to the purchase or the possession of a controlled substance. 
  • The defendant has not received a pardon for any felony or other qualified offense that is necessary for the operation of this paragraph.
  • A conviction of a felony or other qualified offense necessary to the operation of this paragraph has not been set aside in any post-conviction proceeding. 

Example - John is arrested for Sale of Cocaine on January 1st, 2016.  He was convicted of a Sale of Cocaine on June 3rd, 2012.  He also was convicted of Possession of Cocaine on February 20th, 1999.  Although the maximum sentence for Sale of Cocaine is 15 years, because John is an habitual felony offender, he is now facing up to 30 years in prison, because he has 2 prior convictions, one of which was within 5 years of his new arrest, and one of which was not for drug possession.

What happens if I'm found to be a Habitual Felony Offender?

If you are found to be an habitual felony offender, the court may impose a sentence as follows:
  • If the offense is a life felony or 1st Degree Felony:
    • Life
  • If the offense is a 2nd Degree Felony:
    • Up to 30 years
  • If the offense is a 3rd Degree Felony:
    • Up to 10 years


What is an "Habitual Violent Felony Offender?"

Florida Statute Section 775.084(1)(b) provides for habitual violent felony offender status. In a nutshell, this law allows the judge to sentence you to an enhanced maximum sentence for your current offense with a minimum amount of prison time that you would have to serve in prison, if you have a prior qualifying violent felony conviction, of which you were convicted or released from prison, jail, probation or community control within 5 years. 

An "Habitual Violent Felony Offender" means a defendant for whom the court may impose an extended term of imprisonment if it finds that:
  • The Defendant has previously been convicted of a felony or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony and one or more of such convictions was for:
  • Arson
  • Sexual battery
  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated Child Abuse
  • Aggravated Abuse of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult
  • Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Aggravated Manslaughter of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult
  • Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child
  • Unlawful Throwing, Placing, or Discharging of a Destructive Device or Bomb
  • Armed Burglary
  • Aggravated Battery, or
  • Aggravated Stalking
  • The felony for which the defendant is to be sentenced was committed:
  • while the defendant was serving a prison sentence or the sentence or court-ordered or lawfully imposed supervision that is imposed  as a result of a prior conviction for an enumerated felony, or
  • within 5 years of the date of the conviction of the last prior enumerated felony, or within 5 years of the defendant's release from a prison sentence, probation, community control, control release, conditional release, parole, or court ordered or lawfully imposed supervision or other sentence that is imposed as a result of a prior conviction for an enumerated felony , whichever is later. 
  • The defendant has not received a pardon on the ground of innocence for any crime that is necessary for the operation of this paragraph.
  • A conviction of a crime necessary to the operation of this paragraph has not been set aside in any post-conviction proceeding. 

Example - John is arrested for Sale of Cocaine on January 1st, 2016.  He was convicted of a Aggravated Battery on June 3rd, 2012.   Although the maximum sentence for Sale of Cocaine is 15 years, because John is an habitual violent felony offender, he is now facing up to 30 years in prison with no release for 10 years, because he has a prior enumerated violent felony conviction, which was within 5 years of his new arrest.


What happens if I'm found to be a Habitual Violent Felony Offender?

If you are found to be an habitual violent felony offender, the court may impose a sentence as follows:
  • If the offense is a life felony or 1st Degree Felony:
    • Life (not eligible for release for 15 years)
  • If the offense is a 2nd Degree Felony:
    • Up to 30 years (not eligible for release for 10 years)
  • If the offense is a 3rd Degree Felony:
    • Up to 10 years (not eligible for release for 5 years)


What is a "Three Time Violent Felony Offender?"

Florida Statute Section 775.084(1)(c) provides for three time violent felony offender status. In a nutshell, this law provides that a judge must sentence you to a severe mandatory minimum sentence if you have 2 prior enumerated violent felony convictions, one of which you were convicted or released from prison, jail, probation or community control within 5 years and your current offense is one of the enumerated violent felony offenses. 

A "Three Time Violent Felony Offender" means a defendant for whom the court must impose a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment if it finds that:
  • The Defendant has previously been convicted as an adult 2 or more times of a felony, or an attempt to commit a felony, and two or more of such convictions were for committing, or attempting to commit, any of the following offenses or combination thereof:
  • Arson
  • Sexual battery
  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated Child Abuse
  • Aggravated Abuse of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult
  • Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Aggravated Manslaughter of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult
  • Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child
  • Unlawful Throwing, Placing, or Discharging of a Destructive Device or Bomb
  • Armed Burglary
  • Aggravated Battery,
  • Aggravated Stalking
  • Home Invasion/Robbery
  • Carjacking, or
  • An offense which is in violation of a law of any other jurisdiction if the elements of the offense are substantially similar to the elements of any felony offense listed above or an attempt to commit any such felony offense.
  • The felony for which the defendant is to be sentenced is one of the felonies listed above and was committed:
  • while the defendant was serving a prison sentence or other sentence, imposed  as a result of a prior conviction for any offense listed above, or
  • within 5 years after the date of the conviction of the last prior  offense listed above, or within 5 years of the defendant's release from a prison sentence, probation, community control,  or other sentence that is imposed as a result of an offense listed above, whichever is later. 
  • The defendant has not received a pardon on the ground of innocence for any crime that is necessary for the operation of this paragraph.
  • A conviction of a crime necessary to the operation of this paragraph has not been set aside in any post-conviction proceeding. 

Example - John is arrested for Aggravated Battery on January 1st, 2016.  He was convicted of a Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon on June 3rd, 2012.  He also was convicted of Aggravated Battery on February 20th, 1999.  John is now facing a 15 year mandatory sentence as a three time violent felony offender.


What happens if I'm found to be a Three-Time Violent Felony Offender?

If you are found to be an three time violent felony offender, the court must impose the following sentences:
  • If the offense is a felony punishable by life:
    • Life minimum mandatory sentence
  • If the offense is a 1st Degree Felony:
    • 30 year minimum mandatory sentence
  • If the offense is a 2nd Degree Felony:
    • 15 year minimum mandatory sentence
  • If the offense is a 3rd Degree Felony:
    • 5 year minimum mandatory sentence

What is a "Violent Career Criminal?"

Florida Statute Section 775.084(1)(d) provides for violent career criminal status. In a nutshell, this law provides for an enhanced maximum sentence and a severe mandatory minimum sentence for your current offense, if it is one of the enumerated felonies listed below, and if you have been to prison before and been convicted of 3 or more prior enumerated felony offenses, one of which you were convicted or released from prison, jail, probation or community control within 5 years.  The other felony conviction could have been at any time in the past. 

A "Violent Career Offender" means a defendant for whom the court must impose a imprisonment if it finds that:
  • The Defendant has previously been convicted as an adult 3 or more times for an offense in this state or other qualified offense that is:
  • Any Forcible Felony:
    • treason
    • murder
    • manslaughter
    • sexual battery
    • carjacking
    • home invasion robbery
    • robbery
    • burglary
    • arson
    • kidnapping
    • aggravated assault
    • aggravated battery
    • aggravated stalking
    • aircraft piracy
    • unlawful throwing, placing or discharging of a destructive device or bomb
    • any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual
  • Aggravated Stalking
  • Aggravated Child Abuse
  • Aggravated Abuse of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult
  • Lewd or Lascivious Battery,
  • Lewd or Lascivious Molestation
  • Lewd or Lascivious Conduct
  • Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition
  • Escape
  • A Felony Involving Use or Possession of a Firearm
  • The defendant has been incarcerated in a state prison or a federal prison
  • The primary felony offense for which the defendant is to be sentenced is a felony listed above and was committed on or after October 1, 1995 and:
  • while the defendant was serving a prison sentence or other sentence, or court-ordered or lawfully imposed supervision that is imposed  as a result of a prior conviction for an enumerated felony, or
  • within 5 years after the date of the conviction of the last prior enumerated felony, or within 5 years of the defendant's release from a prison sentence, probation, community control,  control release, conditional release, parole, or court-ordered or lawfully imposed supervision or other sentence that is imposed as a result of a prior conviction for an enumerated felony, whichever is later. 
  • The defendant has not received a pardon for any felony or other qualified offense that is necessary for the operation of this paragraph.
  • A conviction of a felony or other qualified offense necessary to the operation of this paragraph has not been set aside in any post-conviction proceeding. 

Example - John is arrested for Burglary (Dwelling) on January 1st, 2016.  He was convicted of a Escape on June 3rd, 2012.  He also was convicted of Aggravated Child Abuse on February 20th, 1999.  He was also convicted of Lewd or Lascivious Conduct in 1998.  He has been to prison once before on a 13 month sentence.  If he is convicted of the Burglary and found by the judge to be a Violent Career Criminal, the judge must sentence him to a minimum mandatory sentence of 30 years in prison, and can sentence him up to 40 years.



What happens if I'm found to be a Violent Career Criminal (VCC)?

If you are found to be an violent career criminal, the court shall sentence as follows:
  • If the offense is a life felony or 1st Degree Felony:
    • Life
  • If the offense is a 2nd Degree Felony:
    • Up to 40 years with a 30 year minimum mandatory sentence
  • If the offense is a 3rd Degree Felony:
    • Up to 15 years with a 10 year minimum mandatory sentence


What is a "qualified offense?"

A "qualified offense" is any offense, substantially similar in elements and penalties to an offense in this state, which is in violation of a law of any other jurisdiction, whether that of another state, the District of Columbia, the United States or any possession or territory thereof, or any foreign jurisdiction, that was punishable under the law of such jurisdiction at


What is a Prison Release Reoffender?

Florida Statute Section 775. 082(9)(a) defines a Prison Release Reoffender as
  • any defendant who commits, or attempts to commit:
    • treason
    • murder
    • manslaughter
    • Sexual battery
    • Carjacking
    • Home-Invasion Robbery
    • Robbery
    • Arson
    • Kidnapping
    • Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
    • Aggravated Battery
    • Aggravated Stalking
    • Aircraft Piracy
    • Unlawful Throwing, Placing, or Discharging of a Destructive Device or Bomb
    • Any Felony that Involves the Use or Threat of Physical Force or Violence Against an Individual
    • Armed Burglary
    • Burglary of a Dwelling or Burglary of an Occupied Structure, or
      • Any Felony Violation of:
      • 790.07 - Persons engaged in criminal offense, having weapons
      • 800.04 - Lewd or Lascivious Offenses
      • 827.03 - Abuse, Aggravated Abuse, and Neglect of a Child
      • 827.071 - Sexual Performance by a Child
      • 847.0135(5) - Sexual Computer Transmissions (Minors)
  • within 3 years after being released from prison.  

What if I'm sentenced as a Prison Release Reoffender?

The judge must sentence you to the maximum sentence. 

Offense punishable by life

Mandatory Life

First Degree Felony

Mandatory 30 years

Second Degree Felony

Mandatory 15 years

Third Degree Felony

Mandatory 5 years


If you or a loved one has been arrested for or accused of a
Felony,

Call Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon Now!
Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)

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