When a person is accused of breaking the law, he or she must be charged with a formal offense. A person is informed of the charge at the first appearance or the arraignment. There the accused will learn the severity of the charge, whether it is considered a felony or a misdemeanor. Some charges, such as a DUI, could be either, depending on circumstances of the individual case.
Offenses in Florida could relate to:
- DUI or Driving Under the Influence: State law prohibits a person from being intoxicated by alcohol, drugs or a combination of substances while driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle. This could result in several other issues, including an administrative license suspension.
- BUI or Boating Under the Influence: It is illegal for a person to be under the influence of alcohol or a chemical substance while operating a vessel in Florida.
- Domestic Violence: Domestic violence charges include acts of violence against family members and those in a romantic relationship.
- Juvenile Crimes: Juveniles in Florida are faced with different procedures in the courtroom, often less harsh than those for adults. Juvenile offenses still can have severe consequences, which could carry over into adult life.
- Drug Charges: Drug charges can include a variety of offenses, ranging from possession of marijuana to trafficking large amounts of cocaine. Drug offenses can have harsh penalties.
- White Collar Crimes: White collar crimes, also known as economic crimes, are those concerning deception to illegally obtain money, goods or benefit. This includes various types of fraud.
- Traffic Offenses: Traffic offenses often seem minor, but some could be serious felonies, such as fleeing and eluding with serious injury or property damage.
- Assault and Battery: Assault and battery are two distinct offenses, and they can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors. Penalties can increase if the charges are considered aggravated.
- Firearms and Weapon Offenses: In some circumstances, it could be illegal for a person to bear arms. In Florida, some weapons are prohibited and possession of them also could result in criminal charges.
- Theft Crimes: A person can commit a theft offense in Florida if he or she knowingly obtains or uses the property of another with the intent to deprive the other person of property.