McCulloch Law has years of experience in handling almost every kind of misdemeanor charge. As a former prosecutor, Drew McCulloch prosecuted thousands of cases; misdemeanor and felony. By hiring McCulloch Law at the earliest stages of your case, our office may be able to minimize or possibly avoid certain aspects of your charges and sanctions. In appropriate cases, we may be able to negotiate for a “diversion program”, which, if successfully completed, could result in dismissal of your case. In some cases, we may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor and convince the state attorney to file less serious charges or no charges at all. In other cases, we may be able to argue for or provide mitigation for a better deal, such as drug rehab over jail or lesser included offenses.
McCulloch Law will always try to avoid an adjudication of guilt, if at all possible. An “adjudication of guilt” as opposed to a “withhold of adjudication of guilt” could make the difference between having to admit you were convicted of a criminal offense on a job application and being able to deny it. It may also make the difference between keeping or obtain employment or being able to drive. Teachers, nurses, fiduciaries, county and city employees, even real estate agents and stock brokers may be fired or not hired simply because of a conviction for petit theft, worthless check, defrauding an innkeeper, theft of utilities, or retail theft. An adjudication on a possession of marijuana or prostitution charge carries a 2 years suspension of your Florida's driver's license. Furthermore, an adjudication may limit your ability to seal or expunge your charge.
Drew McCulloch has prosecuted a variety of crimes from misdemeanors such as:
- Driving Under the Influence
- Possession of Marijuana
- Criminal Mischief
- Possession of Paraphernalia
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident
- Petit Thefts
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon
- No Motorcycle Endorsement
- Obstructing an Officer without Violence
- Driving with a Suspended License with Knowledge
- and many more
Misdemeanor vs. Felony:
In Florida, criminal charges are categorized into misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors can be 2nd degree or 1st degree. Felonies can be 3rd degree, 2nd degree, 1st degree, Life, or Capital. A misdemeanor could result in jail time, whereas, a felony could result in jail or prison time. Jail is for sentences less than 365 days and prison is for sentences greater than 365 days.
How it works:
Misdemeanors are heard in County Court, while felonies are heard in Circuit Court. In Hillsborough County, we have seven misdemeanor divisions A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The division is determined by the the first initial of a Defendant's last name. Thus, you will always be in the same division, and often before the same Judge; should you be charged with a misdemeanor in the future. This is important because misdemeanor Judges have wide discretion in sentencing, and different Judges may make the difference between receiving the minimum and maximum sentences. Deals can be worked out with the prosecutor as long as the judge approves. Hiring an experienced local defense attorney can give you insight into your specific Judge and division.
- 2nd Degree Misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of:
- 60 days in jail
- 6 months probation
- $500.00 (or more)
Each crimes is classified by statute. If legislators do not classify a misdemeanor specifically, it will be considered a 2nd degree misdemeanor.
(Fla. Stat. §§ 775.081, 775.082, 775.083)
1st degree Misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of:
- 364 days in jail
- 12 months probation
- $1,000.00 fine (or more)
(Fla. Stat. §§ 775.082, 775.083)
Probation and Jail:
It is important to realize that violating a 12 month probation sentence, even on the last day, could result in a full 364 day jail sentence. A sentence could also be split into a jail sentence followed by a probation sentence. If this happens, a violation of the probation could result in completing the rest of the sentence in jail.
Consecutive vs. Concurrent sentences:
Its important to note that each charge carries its own punishment. A Judge could run sentences concurrently or consecutively. For example, if convicted of both possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia (both 1st degree misdemeanors), a Judge could sentence the defendant to the maximum 364 days in jail for each charge. The Judge could run the sentences consecutively (one right after the other) resulting in a 364 day jail sentence followed by another 364 day jail sentence, because both are punishable by 364 days individually. Alternatively, a Judge could run the sentences concurrently (at the same time) resulting in both sentences being served during the same 364 days.
Statute of Limitations:
The state has to charge you within a certain amount of time from the time a crime is committed. Although there are always exceptions, the statute of limitations for misdemeanors in Florida is one year for second degree misdemeanors and two years for second degree misdemeanors.
Misdemeanors, although less severe than felonies, are still criminal charges that can affect not just your liberty, but also your driver's license, your right to own or conceal a firearm, your ability to get a job, your credibility in future court testimony (such as a divorce case or personal injury case), and more. Some misdemeanors, such as DUI, battery, petit theft, driving while license suspended or revoked, and prostitution can be upgraded to felonies depending on prior convictions. In other words, misdemeanors are still very serious offenses and should be handled carefully.
Habitual Misdemeanor Offenders (Fla. Stat. 775.0837):
Depending on recidivism and other aggravating factors, some misdemeanors can carry enhanced sanctions; even minimum mandatory sentences. A habitual misdemeanor offender is defined as a person who is before the court for sentencing for any misdemeanor offense described in chapters 741, 784, 790, 796, 800, 806, 810, 812, 817, 831, 832, 843, 856, 893, or 901, F.S. and who has previously been convicted, as an adult, of four or more misdemeanor offenses described in these chapters that were not part of the same criminal transaction or episode and were committed within one year of the date of the commission of the misdemeanor that is before the court for sentencing. If the court finds that the defendant qualifies as a habitual misdemeanor offender, the court is required, unless it makes a finding that an alternative disposition is in the best interests of the community and the defendant, to sentence the defendant as a habitual misdemeanor offender and impose one of the following sentences:
(1) Incarceration in a county jail operated by the county or a private vendor for a term of not less than six months, but not to exceed one year;
(2) Commitment to a residential treatment program or other community-based treatment program or a combination of residential and community-based program for not less than six months, but not to exceed 364 days; or
(3) Detention for not less than six months, but not to exceed 364 days, to a designated residence.
However, a Judge may not sentence a defendant under section 775.0837, if the misdemeanor before the Judge for sentencing has been reclassified as a felony because of any prior qualifying misdemeanor.