Florida Criminal Punishment

By Attorney Daveta Williams

If you are wondering what the maximum criminal punishment is for a charge or what conditions can be imposed if you elect a traffic hearing, then this article may be used to offer you guidance. Florida statutes provide for criminal maximums and traffic citation fines. 

Criminal Maximums

If you are charged in a criminal case, the maximum punishment depends on the level of the offense. The maximum punishment based on the level of offense is as follows:

  • Misdemeanor (Second Degree) – 2 months county jail, 6 months probation, and/or $500 fine 
  • Misdemeanor (First Degree) – 1 year county jail, 12 months probation, and/or $1,000 fine
  • Felony (Third Degree) – 5 years prison, 5 years probation, and/or $5,000 fine
  • Felony (Second Degree) – 15 years prison, 15 years probation, and/or $10,000 fine
  • Felony (First Degree) – 30 years prison, 30 years probation, and/or $10,000 fine
  • Felony (PBL) – Up to life prison
  • Felony (Life) – Mandatory life prison
The Felony Scoresheet

Minimum prison sentences are determined by the Florida Criminal Punishment Code Scoresheet. If you score more than a total of 44 points on the scoresheet, you will score mandatory prison time. A felony scoresheet tallies a number of factors into a point system which is calculated by an established formula. The scoresheet takes into consideration many factors such as the level of severity of the current charges, prior record, and aggravators such as victim injury, legal status, and use of a firearm, to name a few. 

Mandatory Minimums and Fines

There are some felony offenses that require a mandatory minimum sentence of prison and mandatory fines, such as drug and weapons charges. This means if you are convicted of an offense that requires a mandatory minimum sentence, the minimum sentence and fine will be imposed. Likewise, there are misdemeanor offenses that have established mandatory and minimum conditions, such as the offense of driving under the influence (“DUI”).

Mandatory Courses and Driver’s License Suspensions

In addition to mandatory sentences and fines, there are some offenses that have mandatory course requirements and driver’s licenses suspensions, such as battery-domestic violence and drug possession cases. If convicted of Battery-Domestic Violence, you will be required to participate in the Batterer’s Intervention Program. If you are convicted of a drug possession charge such as possession of marijuana or possession of a controlled substance, your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 6 months.

Traffic Infractions

If you have received a uniform traffic citation (“ticket”), the statutory fine will be placed on the ticket that has been issued to you. If your traffic citation does not include the fine amount for the ticket, then it is in your best interest to contact an attorney to discuss the available options. If you make an election for a traffic hearing, the fine amount on the ticket will not need to be paid at the moment. At the hearing, your ticket may be dismissed, or you may be found guilty. If the hearing officer finds you guilty, you may be ordered to pay the fine amount and may or may not have points assessed to your license. The hearing officer will review your driving record and may add the requirement that you attend a driving course. The hearing officer can also increase the ticket amount to an amount not to exceed $500 for most offenses.

This article is intended as a guide and is not an all-inclusive list. Each case involves unique facts, mitigators, and defenses. If you wish to discuss your case specifically and the options available to you, please contact our office for a free consultation.


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