How a Conviction Can Affect You


Felony cases are handled in Circuit Court for Pinellas and Pasco Counties, Florida (Sixth Judicial Circuit). If you are convicted of a felony, your life is changed forever. You could be incarcerated in state prison as well as lose your right to vote or own a firearm. Worst of all, you may find it difficult to find a job. In addition, you may never again be able to be "bonded" in a job that involves trust or the handling of money or valuables.

If you are convicted of a felony drug offense, the judge may also suspend your driving privileges.


Misdemeanors in Pinellas County, Florida are handled in Pinellas County Court. While misdemeanor convictions do not carry the same grave consequences of a felony, they could harm your ability to find a job in certain industries or professions, especially those involving trust or the handling of money or valuables.

In addition, in misdemeanor drug and prostitution cases, your driver's license could be suspended immediately.

Violation of Probation or House Arrest

Judges do not take probation violations or violations of house arrest lightly, particularly since the new Florida Anti-Murder Act went into effect in early 2007. The sentence for a probation violation or violation of house arrest can be very harsh; thus it is extremely important to have the best legal representation possible.

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Mandatory sentencing laws have severely limited a judge's discretion in imposing a sentence in recent years. This is particularly true in cases involving repeat violent offenders.

10/20/Life Law for Crimes Involving Firearms

Enacted in July, 1999, the "10/20/Life" law requires judges to impose a 10-year prison sentence for any person who is in "actual" possession of a firearm and is convicted of committing--or attempting to commit--a serious felony.Use of a firearm in a murder, sexual battery, robbery, or burglary requires the judge to hand down a 20-year prison sentence. If someone discharges a firearm during the attempt or commission of a serious felony and death results from serious bodily injury, the judge is required to impose a MINIMUM sentence ot LIFE IMPRISONMENT.

Three (3) Strikes Law - Prior Convictions

The 3 Strikes Law was also enacted in July, 1999. It applies to defendants with two (2) prior convictions who are convicted as a violent felony offender for the 3rd time. A defendant is subject to the 3 Strikes Law only if he or she meets the following 5 separate criteria:

  • The defendant was convicted of a violent felony twice before. In this case, a withhold of adjudication counts as a conviction.
  • Each conviction took place on a separate occasion, including the third offense for which the defendant is presently being sentenced.
  • The present offense is a violent felony (such as arson, sexual battery, robbery, kidnapping, or murder).
  • The present offense was committed while serving any sentence imposed as a result of being convicted of another violent felony or within 5 years of being convicted of a violent felony, or within 5 years of finishing a sentence imposed for a violent felony.
  • The accused has not been pardoned for a prior violent felony conviction or has not had a prior violent felony conviction overturned on appeal or other post-conviction proceeding

Once these 5 criteria are satisfied, a judge is required to impose the minimum mandatory term of imprisonment specified by law as follows:

  • Life felony = Life imprisonment
  • First-degree felony = 30-year prison term
  • Second-degree felony = 15-year prison term
  • Third-degree felony = 5-year prison term

Free case assessment to explain your rights

When you come in for your free initial case assessment, our competent, experienced criminal defense lawyers will explain the potential penalties for your charges, your available options including treatment or negotiating a reduced charge, and how a close analysis of the evidence against you might be used in your defense. Call us today to schedule an appointment at (727) 323-4020 or click here to contact us online.

The Fleming Law Group is a criminal defense law firm based in St. Petersburg, Florida, headed by former state prosecutor Lucas Fleming. Our team of experienced criminal lawyers is also available to meet with clients in Tampa and Clearwater. The lawyers at The Fleming Law Group represent clients in criminal matters throughout the Tampa Bay area in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties, Florida, including Saint Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, Clearwater, Largo, Seminole, Gulfport, Tampa, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, Bradenton, Sarasota, and all surrounding areas.

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