Do Felony Charges Ever Go Away – Understanding the Legal Process and Your Options

On behalf of Patrick McLain Law | February 28, 2024
Photo of a Officer Interrogating a Man

If you have been arrested on felony charges, your legal situation is a serious matter. Your freedom will be hanging in the balance, contingent upon the outcome of your case.

It is of extreme importance that you understand the legal process and the potential outcomes you could face. Patrick McLain Law’s expertise in all criminal defense matters, particularly for handling felony charges, allows our firm to provide effective representation for our clients. Our commitment to standing up for your legal rights is unwavering, even when you face serious felony charges. Continue reading to learn more about felony charges and how a criminal defense lawyer from our firm can help.

Understanding the Long-Term Implications of Felony Charges

Felonies in Florida have very serious consequences that are imposed if you are convicted of the charges. Understanding the long-term implications of felony charges will help you see what you’re up against. Florida has five separate degrees of felony charges that may be applied:

Third Degree Felony

A felony of the third degree is punishable by up to five years in prison with fines up to $5,000.

Second Degree Felony

Second-degree felonies mandate a prison sentence of up to 15 years with fines of up to $10,000.

First Degree Felony

If you are convicted of a felony in the first degree, you may be required to serve time in prison for up to 30 years and pay fines up to $15,000.

Life Felony

While any felony charge is serious, life felony convictions are the second most severe penalty for breaking the law. This will require you to serve the remainder of your life behind bars with no chance of parole. Life felony charges are applied to serious crimes including rape, murder, and human trafficking.

Capital Felony

The only sentence that is more severe than a life felony is a capital felony. Conviction on capital felony charges means that you will either face life imprisonment or be sentenced to death. The judge will make the final decision on whether you get the death penalty for your crimes.

Can Felony Charges Ever Be Expunged?

Felony charges can be expunged but it is not easy. If you are found not guilty, you will have a better chance of having the charge removed from your record. Currently, Florida will only consider expunging records for certain third degree felony charges.

You would also need to meet the basic criteria set by the state to expunge a felony. These include not having any other records expunged or sealed, fulfilling all of the terms of your sentencing, not having any current criminal charges, and riding out the mandatory waiting period before applying to have your record expunged. Even if you check all of the boxes, you should know that it is not an easy process.

Other Options for Individuals Facing Felony Charges

Since expunging your record means waiting to satisfy all the listed criteria, you might be wondering what other options for individuals facing felony charges are available. It will depend on the specifics of your case, the alleged crimes committed, and the severity of the charges, but we can discuss your legal options.

Some people are able to take plea bargains, which would lower the charges to some degree. There may also be opportunities for diversion programs that can make it easier to fulfill your obligations to the state. If you have questions about whether you qualify to have a felony expunged in Florida, Patrick McLain Law is here to help you through these challenges and protect your rights. Contact our criminal defense team today to have a free and confidential initial consultation about your charges and learn what to do next.

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