What Are The Different Types of Crimes?

Crimes are behaviors or actions that the common law deems worthy of punishment, so it’s important to research the laws based on one’s location.

In Florida, there are two classifications of crimes according to Florida State law, namely felonies and misdemeanors. Whatever the type of crime you may be charged with, it is in your best interest to seek legal help from a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer. Let’s take a closer look at some crimes in Florida and their consequences.

Felonies and Misdemeanors in Florida

Florida’s criminal justice system consists of a body of laws that define and classify crimes and offenses while specifying the type of punishments for each of those crimes.

Felonies in Florida

Under Florida criminal law, felonies are the most severe crimes. Felonies are the most severe and violent crimes, including murder, rape, assault, robbery, and burglary. Depending on the crime’s nature and the offender’s criminal history, felony punishments can vary. If you have been charged with a felony, you will most likely have to face jail time in either state or county jail.

In Florida, felonies are also divided into the following five categories:


  1. Capital felony – punishable by life sentence or death (for crimes associated with murder, capital drug trafficking, or armed kidnapping)
  2. Life felony – penalties of life imprisonment and fines of up to $15,000 (accomplice to murder, sexual battery, or kidnapping)
  3. Felony in the first degree – punishable by up to 30 years jail time and fines up to $10,000 (aggravated battery, rape, burglary)
  4. Felony in the second degree – punishable by up to 15 years in jail and fines up to $10,000 (sexual battery, severe child abuse, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell)
  5. Felony in the third degree – punishable by up to 5 years jail time and $5,000 worth of fines (third time DUI offense, cocaine possession)

Misdemeanors in Florida

A misdemeanor is a less severe crime, and the most common punishments include prison, fines, probation, or a combination of all three. In Florida, misdemeanors are classified as:

  • First-degree misdemeanor – penalties of one year jail time, one year of probation, and $1,000 fines (battery, possession of drugs, cruelty to animals)
  • Second-degree misdemeanor – punishments of up to 60 days jail time, six months of probation, and a $500 fine (driving with a suspended license, public drunkness, trespassing)

The Most Common Types of Crimes in Florida

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the following crimes are the most common in Florida:

#1. Drug Crimes

Reports by the FBI have shown that drug abuse accounts for more than 30% of all arrests in Florida (traffic offenses are not included). Drug crimes can differ from possession to manufacturing, production, or trafficking. A drug crime carries penalties such as fines and jail time if convicted.

#2. Theft

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has stated that theft is committed every minute in the state. Generally, the value of a property will determine whether theft is considered a misdemeanor or felony.

#3. DUI

Driving under the influence of either alcohol or controlled drugs is illegal in Florida. If you have a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or higher and were caught driving or being in physical control of a car, you may face penalties such as fines, community service, or jail time. However, the penalties are based on various factors, such as whether it is your first, second, or third DUI offense.

#4. Aggravated Assault

An aggravated assault refers to an assault with a deadly weapon but without the intent to kill or commit a felony. Such an assault is usually classified as a third-degree felony, and if you are convicted, you may need to serve five years in prison and pay fines of $5,000. Data from FDLE shows that an aggravated assault occurs every nine minutes in Florida.

#5. Burglary

In Florida, a burglary happens every three minutes. If you have entered or stayed in a building with the intent to commit a crime, you will be convicted of burglary. Depending on various circumstances, a burglary can be a felony of the first, second, or third degree.

#6. Fraud

Fraud usually consists of false pretenses, credit card or ATM fraud, identity theft, wire fraud, or welfare fraud. Someone can be convicted of fraud under various Florida laws. If you have been found guilty of fraud, you may face fines or jail time.

#7. Liquor Law Violations

In 2018, Florida reported 10,591 violations related to manufacturing, selling, purchasing, transportation, possession, or use of intoxicating alcoholic beverages. Moreover, selling alcohol to minors is illegal, and those found guilty will endure severe punishments.

#8. Vandalism

The FBI confirmed that minors had committed more than 20% of all acts of vandalism. If you are a minor and were charged with vandalism, you may need help from a criminal defense attorney.

Why Should You Seek Help From a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Suppose you have been convicted of a crime in Florida. In that case, it would be in your best interest to seek legal assistance to change the outcome of your criminal case. For starters, an attorney will explain the criminal law process, handle witnesses, gather evidence, explain the law, and ensure that your constitutional rights are not violated.

When you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney, they will fight to have your charges reduced, your criminal penalties lessened, or your case dismissed altogether. They understand the negative impact a criminal conviction can have on your life, so they will do whatever it takes to help you avoid jail or other severe punishments.