If you’ve been arrested and are facing charges for a felony in Florida, then you probably have many questions regarding the impact on your future. One of those will be ‘how long will a felony stay on my record?’
The severity of felonies in Florida should not be underestimated. But with the estimation that over 24 million Americans have a felony to their name, you are not alone. The best thing you can do is to get the support of a Florida criminal defense attorney to reduce the impact on your future.
How Long Will a Felony in Florida Stay on Your Record?
A felony in Florida will stay on your record for life.
Sadly, this can make your life difficult in various ways, from finding a job to travel.
That is exactly why it’s extremely important anyone facing a felony charge gains the legal support of a Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. They can potentially reduce your sentence or get your charges reduced.
If you are facing charges for a felony in Florida, contact us today for a free consultation.
What Is a Felony?
Criminal charges are ranked in three levels – infractions, misdemeanors and felonies.
Felonies are the most severe. They typically carry sentences of more than one year in prison.
Misdemeanors and felonies are also classified by degree – the more severe the degree, the bigger the impact will be on your future and the severity of the penalties you’ll face.
Examples of these serious crimes include:
- Assault and Battery
- Child Neglect
- Grand theft
- White-collar crimes
- Burglary and Robbery
- Home invasion
- Drug trafficking
- Drug Sale and Manufacturing
|Type of Felony:
|Capital and Life Felonies
|The most severe of Florida felonies. Punishable by the death penalty, life imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000.
|Punishable by up to 30 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
|Punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
|The least severe of Florida felonies. Punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Note: Multiple felony convictions can result in a longer jail sentence.
Other Consequences of Florida Felonies
In addition to imprisonment and fines, a conviction for a felony in Florida may also carry consequences including:
- Inability to get hired
- Loss of Civil Rights
- Ineligible to obtain State Licenses
- Ineligible to hold public office
- Ineligible for federal or state aid
- Unable to rent an apartment
- Difficulties with insurance companies
Expunging or Sealing a Felony Record in Florida
The good news is, if you were arrested for a felony but not convicted, you can get your record sealed or expunged.
What Is a Sealed Record?
A sealed record effectively means the felony charge on your record cannot be viewed by the public – but the majority of government agencies will still have access.
This can make it far easier to get a job, as private employers won’t be able to see the charge on background checks.
What Is an Expunged Record?
An expunged record means that no one, even government agencies, can view the felony without a court order.
Note, however, that you cannot have your felony in Florida expunged or sealed if you have been charged for another crime.
As you can see, these rules are complicated and difficult to approach alone. If you have any questions, you should contact a Florida criminal defense attorney.
Fighting a Felony Charge
- If you’ve been arrested for a felony crime, you may be able to fight to reduce the charges and reduce your penalties.
- There may also be scenarios that can be dismissed, such as due to a lack of evidence or by proving your constitutional rights were infringed.
- Another alternative may include accepting a plea agreement, which sees you plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge, instead. Plea deals are used when prosecutors are unsure if they can prove their case.
- Cooperating with prosecutors on another case can also see the felony dropped. For example, by testifying against someone else or providing information that helps them.
- Diversion programs can also be used to help with your behavior and reduce your charges or penalties. However, many diversion programs have strict requirements.
The route to fighting your felony in Florida depends on the type of crime and the circumstances of your arrest.
You should always contact a Florida criminal defense attorney, so they can review your case and determine the best route of action to protect your future.
What to Do If You’re Facing Felony Charges?
To have any chance of seriously reducing the charges or penalties for a felony crime in Florida, you need to take the following steps:
- Exercise your right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions until your Florida criminal defense attorney arrives.
- Remain calm and polite. Resisting arrest may leave you vulnerable to other charges.
- Contact a Florida criminal defense attorney immediately.
- Know what felony you’re facing.
- Be honest with your attorney – your relationship is protected by the attorney-client privilege and all information is confidential.
- Try to avoid sharing information with family and friends.
- Make a list of witnesses.
- Write down what you remember, such as who you were with and where you were and at what time.
Criminal Defense Attorney in Pinellas County, FL
If you’re facing charges for a felony in Florida, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. We have had very good success over the years in reducing charges, minimizing penalties, getting cases dismissed and protecting the futures of your clients.
With decades of experience helping people like you, we believe there is no better place to help you tackle a felony charge in Florida.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300