What Is a First Degree Misdemeanor in Florida?

Elvert Barnes/CC-BY-SA 2.0

According to the Florida State Department of Law Enforcement, a first degree misdemeanor in Florida is a crime that is considered less serious than a felony but more serious than a second degree misdemeanor. Some examples of first degree misdemeanors in the state of Florida include resisting arrest, animal cruelty, possession of cannabis and some types of theft.

First degree misdemeanors are handled by a county court and have a maximum penalty of one year in a county correctional facility. As stated by the Florida State Department of Law Enforcement, misdemeanors are still considered crimes and the perpetrator is subject to arrest. This includes the possibility of being handcuffed, fingerprinted and having a mug shot taken. First degree misdemeanors can also appear on a person’s permanent criminal record, which can possibly harm employment and educational opportunities.

Crimes that are more serious than first degree misdemeanors are considered felonies and are subject to trial by a circuit court and may include incarceration at a state penitentiary. There are also second degree misdemeanors that are less severe than first degree misdemeanors and include such crimes as driving without a license and prostitution. The penalty for second degree misdemeanors is up to 60 days in a county court and a fine up to $500, according to the State Attorney Office for the 18th Judicial Circuit.