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Types of Criminal Charges, Contact Your Criminal Defense Attorney To Reduce Your Charges

Criminal charges and wrongs are typically classified as infractions, misdemeanors or felonies depending on the severity of the wrong. The more serious the charges, the more serious the punishment usually is as well.


Infractions are violations of law or ordinances that are typically pretty minor, including traffic infractions. An infraction is less serious than a misdemeanor and may not technically be considered a crime, depending on the circumstances. A person who commits an infraction will usually get a ticket or citation – not jail time or other heftier punishments. Many times, an experienced lawyer can help negotiate a reduction of misdemeanor charges to the level of an infraction for first-time offenders in an effort to avoid a criminal record.


Misdemeanors are more serious than infractions, but less serious than felonies. Misdemeanors typically result in a heavier fine than what someone would pay if they committed an infraction; or if sentenced to jail, for a term that is less than a year. If a jail sentence is imposed, it is served at a local, city or county jail rather than a state or federal prison (penitentiary). A person convicted of a misdemeanor usually does not lose the right to vote, serve on juries, practice in a licensed profession or serve in the military. Most importantly, misdemeanors are not counted as “strikes” in states that have adopted three strikes laws.


Felonies are the most serious types of crimes, and each state has different punishments for these offenses. A standard definition of a felony is any crime punishable by more than one year in prison. Unlike misdemeanors, defendants convicted of felonies serve their sentences in a state or federal prison rather than a local, city or county jail. Additional criminal procedures apply with felonies, and the right to a court-appointed lawyer if the defendant can’t afford one is one of the rights guaranteed in felony cases.

In some jurisdictions, felonies can only be charged upon a grand jury indictment. In the case of a felony charge, not only are the procedural laws different than they are for misdemeanors, but the substantive laws can also be affected. For example, under some statutes an accidental death would be considered a murder if it occurs in the commission of a felony–like armed robbery or kidnapping. However, if it occurs in the commission of a lesser crime like a DUI, it is only manslaughter (source).

There are two different types of misdemeanors in Florida. The first type, a “first degree” misdemeanor is a crime punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. These crimes are far more serious that “second degree” misdemeanors, which are punishable by 60 days in jail.

Below are some of the common misdemeanors in South Florida:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Boating under the influence
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Domestic Violence Battery
  • Driving with a Suspended License
  • Lewd & Lascivious
  • Loitering and Prowling
  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol
  • Possession of Marijuana/ Drug Paraphernalia
  • Prostitution
  • Theft (Petit)
West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney

The law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., is a well-known criminal defense firm in the West Palm Beach, Florida, area. For a free consultation, contact us by calling (561) 832-1170 or (866) 849-1770 for service after business hours.

Drug Crimes

Many drug crimes in Florida, including drug trafficking, running a marijuana grow house and Oxycodone offenses, are subject to mandatory minimum prison sentences of at least three years. If you are an immigrant charged with a drug crime, you may face deportation. At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., we take a proactive approach in defending you. In fact, many drug cases are resolved by immediately performing community service and completing a short drug class.


We represent people arrested on weapons charges, including carrying a concealed weapon, improper exhibition of a weapon, aggravated assault or battery with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, and firing or shooting an object into an occupied building.

Drunk Driving

Blood alcohol content usually serves as significant evidence in a drunk driving case. If you have an expert witness and an experienced attorney who can challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer machine in court, the BAC evidence may be thrown out. DUI/DWI lawyer Andrew Stine has obtained not-guilty verdicts due to machine failure for clients who have had blood alcohol levels of .229 and .227.


In criminal law, the state must prove first that you intended to commit the crime and secondly, that you actually committed the crime. Lawyer Andrew Stine is able to get many assault cases thrown out of court because the state could not prove that our client intended to commit the crime.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a first-degree misdemeanor, which would result in a permanent criminal record and serious life-long consequences if you are convicted. Contact our firm to discuss your case in a free consultation.

Grand Theft

In Florida, the seriousness of a theft charge depends upon the amount taken. Theft or embezzlement of more than $300 is grand theft, a felony that may be subject to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three or more years.


We have extensive experience representing people charged with fraud crimes, including mortgage fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, insider trading, writing bad checks, money laundering and organized schemes to defraud.

Animal Cruelty

Few law firms in Florida have as much experience-or as much success-defending people charged with animal cruelty as the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A. in West Palm Beach. Andrew Stine has handled some of the biggest animal cases in Florida and has never lost a case.

Violation of Probation

We represent clients who violated their probation terms after a drug offense, DUI, or other crime.

Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300. Se habla español.

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