Criminal Defense

If you have been charged with a crime or are under criminal investigation, now is the time to put an experienced defense attorney on your side. Not only can a seasoned criminal lawyer advise you on the general dos and don’ts of your situation, but they can also investigate the evidence against you and begin to prepare an appropriate defense.

Whether your charge is a misdemeanor or a capital felony, you do not want to put off finding an attorney. Every moment you delay gives the other side more time to gain leverage against you. To help you better understand the gravity of the charges you may face, below you’ll find some general information about the various classes of criminal offenses in Florida.


Between the two major classes of criminal offenses — misdemeanors and felonies — misdemeanors are considered the less serious of the two because they involve little to no violence, little to no property damage, and little to no financial impact on the victim. For instance, the following offenses are classified as misdemeanors in Florida:

  • Battery
  • Criminal mischief
  • Burglary
  • Driving with a suspended driver’s license
  • Underage possession of alcohol

The punishments for misdemeanors are less severe than those of felonies, capping out at a maximum of one year in county jail and a maximum of $1,000 in fines.

In the state of Florida, misdemeanors are further categorized as either first- or second-degree offenses, the first being more severe. How your case is tried will depend upon the evidence against you and the approach taken by your attorney.

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Felonies, like misdemeanors, have multiple subcategories that correspond with the severity of the crime committed. In Florida, the most heinous of crimes are classified as capital felonies, meaning they are punishable by the death penalty. Life felonies, as the name suggests, are punishable by life in prison. Felonies of the first, second, and third degree may result in punishments ranging anywhere from $5,000 in fines to 30 years in prison, depending on the severity of the case.

Other Deciding Factors

As you can imagine, criminal cases are never black and white. There are countless factors that can play a part in the outcome of a case, such as the severity of the crime, the amount of time that has passed since the crime was committed, and whether the evidence against you has been collected through legitimate, legal means.

Arguably, the most important factor of all is your legal representation. You want an attorney who not only knows the ins and outs of state and federal law, but who also gives you clear, honest advice about the best way to proceed with your case. At Hathaway Sprague Law, P.A., you’ll find attorneys who fit both of these criteria. We will never make promises that we can’t deliver. Rather, we will give you a realistic idea of what to expect from your case and zealously fight for the best outcome possible.

Your Tallahassee Criminal Defense Team

If you’ve been accused of or charged with a crime, do not take any chances. Reach out to an experienced attorney today. At our firm, we handle cases ranging from DUIs to first-degree murder, so no matter the charge you’re facing, you can trust that we have the knowledge and tools to fight for you.