If you are facing criminal charges in Miami-Dade County for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions about Florida’s criminal justice system – and that is understandable! In order to help you better understand how the state classifies criminal offenses and how there are separate criminal courts, I’m going to shed some light on these subjects.
If you have further questions about the specific charges that you are up against, I encourage you to contact me as soon as possible for legal advice from a former prosecutor who is on your side. The sooner you confront the situation, the better!
For starters, the state of Florida separates criminal offenses into felonies and misdemeanors, with felonies being the more serious of the two. Under Section 775.081 felonies and misdemeanors are classified as follows:
- Capital felony (punishable by death or life in prison)
- Life felony (punishable by up to life in prison)
- Felony of the first degree (up to 30 years in prison)
- Felony of the second degree (up to 15 years in prison)
- Felony of the third degree (up to 5 years in prison)
- Misdemeanors of the first degree (punishable by up to one year in jail)
- Misdemeanors of the second degree (punishable by up to 60 days in jail)
To learn more about the sentencing for misdemeanors and felonies under Section 775.082 of the Florida Statutes, click here.
Miami-Dade Criminal Courts: Circuit and Criminal
If you are charged with a crime in Miami-Dade County, Florida, your case will either be handled by the Circuit Criminal Court or the County Criminal Court depending on the nature of your charges.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense, your case will be sent to the County Criminal Court, which maintains all of the civil infractions, such as boating and animal violations, as well as the misdemeanor arrests. It also handles the municipal and ordinance violations in its Traffic/Misdemeanor Division.
On the other hand, if you are charged with a felony offense, your case will be processed by the County Criminal Court, which handles the following:
- Arrest warrants,
- Felony affidavits of probable cause, and
- Grand jury indictments.
The Circuit Criminal Court conducts two felony bond hearings per a day, which is transmitted via video between the pre-trial detention center and the actual courtroom. Also, special felony drug court bond hearings are held daily where the defendant has the opportunity to agree to participate in a drug rehabilitation program instead of enduring a trial.
Are you looking for an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney to defend you? For the high-caliber defense you deserve, contact my firm for a free case evaluation. But first, check out my attorney qualifications!