If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense, it is natural that your thoughts go directly to the worst-case scenario. For most people, this means worrying about going to jail or prison. While some offenses, such as 10-20-Life crimes involving the use of a firearm, do carry mandatory minimum sentences that include time in jail or prison, most do not. It is up to the prosecutor to determine whether to seek a conviction that will include jail or prison time.

Difference Between Jail and Prison

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in your local county jail or workhouse. If you have a job or family obligations, jail sentences can often be fulfilled in a weekend program or under house arrest. A conviction for a felony means you face a sentence in the state penitentiary at one of several locations throughout Florida. You will serve your time inside a minimum-security, medium-security, or maximum-security environment. A conviction for a federal felony means you face a sentence in a federal prison, at a prison anywhere in the United States.

Learn More About Mandatory Minimum Sentences and Sentencing Guidelines

It may be of some comfort to know that many people convicted (or pleading guilty) to a first offense are able to avoid jail or prison time by agreeing to complete a diversion program. These are often referred to as “conviction set-aside programs” that allow a person to avoid a conviction on their record upon successful completion.

Some of these diversion programs include:

  • Probation
  • House arrest
  • Weekend jail
  • Education and awareness programs for domestic violence
  • Drug treatment programs, chemical dependency rehabilitation

The attorneys at Ferrer & Gonzalez, PL, prepare thoroughly to help our clients have the best opportunity to avoid a jail or prison sentence for their criminal offense. We rely on our integrity and reputation to work closely with assistant district attorneys and are often successful in finding a set-aside program that will not destroy an individual’s future or family.

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We work with all criminal defense clients who have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in South Florida. We have the professional resources and experience to help you fight for the best possible outcome.

From our offices in Miami, we represent clients throughout South Florida, the Florida Keys and statewide. Contact us to arrange a free consultation with an experienced Miami probation and diversions programs attorney at Ferrer & Gonzalez right away.