Criminal Law in Florida

Criminal law in Florida includes the statutes, regulations, and legal principles that define and govern criminal offenses, as well as the procedures and penalties associated with those offenses.

Criminal Offenses

Florida has a wide range of criminal offenses, including but not limited to murder, assault, theft, drug offenses, sexual offenses, domestic violence, DUI (driving under the influence), robbery, burglary, and white-collar crimes. These offenses are defined and classified under Florida’s criminal code.

Degrees of Crimes

In Florida, crimes are categorized into different degrees based on their severity. The three primary degrees of crimes in Florida are misdemeanors, which are less serious offenses, and felonies, which are more serious offenses. Felonies are further divided into different degrees, with first-degree felonies being the most serious.

Criminal Procedure

Florida follows the adversarial system of criminal procedure, which involves the prosecution and defense presenting their cases in court. The criminal procedure in Florida includes arrest, arraignment, pre-trial hearings, trial, sentencing, and appeals.

Criminal Penalties

The penalties for criminal offenses in Florida vary depending on the nature and severity of the offense, as well as the defendant’s criminal history. Penalties can range from fines and probation to imprisonment, community service, restitution, and the potential loss of certain rights, such as the right to possess firearms or vote.

Juvenile Justice

Florida has a separate justice system for juveniles (individuals under the age of 18). The juvenile justice system focuses on rehabilitation and treatment rather than punishment. Juvenile offenders may be subject to diversion programs, counseling, probation, or placement in juvenile detention centers.

Three Strikes Law

Florida has a “Three Strikes” law that imposes enhanced penalties for repeat offenders. Under this law, individuals with prior convictions for violent felonies or serious offenses face mandatory minimum sentences and potential life imprisonment if convicted of a third qualifying offense.

Sentencing Guidelines

Florida uses a structured sentencing system called the Florida Criminal Punishment Code (CPC). The CPC provides guidelines for judges to determine appropriate sentences based on the offense severity level and the defendant’s prior criminal history.

Death Penalty

Florida is one of the states that allows for the imposition of the death penalty. Capital punishment can be applied in cases of first-degree murder and requires a separate sentencing proceeding.

Expungement and Sealing

Florida law allows for the expungement or sealing of criminal records under certain circumstances. Expungement removes the record from public view, while sealing restricts access to the record but does not completely erase it. Eligibility for expungement or sealing depends on the type of offense and the individual’s criminal history.


Criminal Law in Florida