- April 28, 2023
- Criminal Defense Blog | Taracks & Associates
“Can a lawyer get a felony dropped to a misdemeanor?” This is something many people want to know in Florida. If you are facing felony charges, it may be possible to get your felony reduced to a misdemeanor. A high-quality criminal defense legal team may be able to help you fight to get the severity of your charges reduced to a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor can have a much less negative impact on your life than a felony charge.
How to Reduce a Felony Charge in Florida
A lawyer in Florida can sometimes get a felony dropped to a misdemeanor. You may be surprised to learn there are several ways criminal attorneys can strategize to reduce your felony charge. Here are five options your criminal lawyer may use to help you reduce your felony to a misdemeanor:
- Strike a plea agreement
- Have your lawyer negotiate a suspension of your case for pretrial diversion
- Demonstrate a lack of probable cause
- Collaborate with the prosecution on a more significant case
- Prove that your constitutional rights were violated.
Any of these options can be ideal in a certain situation. Fighting now to avoid the felony charges can be a wise move. A criminal record can have devastating life-long effects that can make it harder to get a job or rent a home. Speak with your lawyer to find out which solution is best for you.
1) Strike a Plea Agreement
Sometimes you can get your felony dropped to a misdemeanor by striking a plea bargain. However, the crime you are charged with must exist as a misdemeanor for this to work. Some simple crimes that courts may reduce to a misdemeanor could be:
- Petty theft
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
Of course, the court will consider the facts of the charges in question and the offender’s history. A shoplifter with a criminal history who steals something valuable is less likely to have their charges reduced than someone facing their first offense.
Many serious federal, violent, and sex crimes cannot be reduced to misdemeanors, even if it is the offender’s first run-in with the law. Examples of crimes that courts will not reduce through a plea agreement include:
- Armed Robbery
2) Have Your Lawyer Negotiate Suspension of Your Case for Pretrial Diversion
Some Florida felony offenders with a minor criminal record may be able to enter a pretrial diversion program. Pretrial diversion is like a criminal rehabilitation center that focuses on correcting criminal behavior, so its participants can lead clean, crime-free lives afterward.
Offenses that may be eligible include:
- DUI offenses
- Drug abuse
- Domestic violence
3) Demonstrate a Lack of Probable Cause
Law enforcement must have proof of probable cause to place criminal charges against you. But they cannot charge you if they do not have enough evidence to prove you committed the offense. Much depends on the individual case, but an experienced attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or even thrown out if the police lacked sufficient probable cause.
4) Collaborate with the Prosecution on a Larger Case
Sometimes, if you have valuable information that can lead to a more important arrest, you can have your charges dropped if you cooperate with law enforcement officers. Your cooperation can be as minor as supplying key information that helps them build their legal case against another offender.
5) Prove that Your Constitutional Rights Were Violated
The laws surrounding criminal procedure exist, in part, to protect criminal suspects from being unfairly treated during the investigation and judicial processes. Law enforcement officers sometimes violate your constitutional rights. If your lawyer can prove this violation, the felony charges against you may be dropped.
Some constitutional rights that may have been violated include the right to be:
- Free from unreasonable seizures or searches
- Informed of the details of felony charges against you
- Free from self-incrimination
If you feel that your constitutional rights were violated, you should speak with a Florida attorney who has experience arguing criminal cases involving a violation of constitutional rights.
Frequently Asked Questions
Felony charges are severe and can have life-altering implications. It is vital that you get accurate answers to your questions. The following questions are commonly asked by people charged with a felony in Florida. Contact a criminal defense attorney specializing in the charges you face to get more personalized answers.
Yes, in certain situations, a skilled attorney can help you get your Florida felony reduced to a misdemeanor. However, not all cases are eligible for a reduction. Your charges must exist as a misdemeanor. An experienced criminal lawyer can help.
The felonies must have a misdemeanor option on the books to be eligible for a reduction. In general, serious crimes involving violence or sexual abuse are not eligible for a reduction to a misdemeanor.
Felony offenses that may be eligible for a reduction include:
A felony is a more serious charge. Felonies can be punishable by prison time or even death. Misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of one year behind bars. Additionally, those with a felony in the past may find it challenging to secure employment, rent a home, or take out a loan. It can have devastating effects on a person throughout their entire life.
In Florida, felony charges are considered much more serious than misdemeanors. For example:
- Misdemeanors carry a maximum one-year jail sentence. Felons can be imprisoned for life.
- Misdemeanors have little long-term impact. Felonies can affect the rest of your life.
- Felonies can negatively affect your chances of renting certain apartments, holding certain jobs, voting, owning a gun, receiving certain social services, and even obtaining parental visitation rights.
How Can an Experienced Attorney Help?
If you have been charged with a felony in Florida, the knowledgeable criminal lawyers at Taracks & Associates can help. Your charges may be eligible for a reduction to a misdemeanor. The best action you can take is to hire an experienced attorney who understands the issues at play in your case. Contact us today for your free consultation.