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What does 'level' mean in criminal charge?

Fort Walton Beach, FL |
Filed under: Criminal defense

A person I know was charged with Battery and his booking info reads:

784.03.1a1 CASE0001 BATTERY F M $0.00

I know the degree is "Felony" btw, I just don't understand what "level" is

Attorney Answers 2


No, I would say level is misdemeanor or felony. Degree would be things like 1st, 2nd, 3rd.

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In Florida, criminal offenses are first broken down into felony or misdemeanor and subsequently divided into degrees. The main difference is maximum punishment.

Maximum punishments for crimes are as follows:
2nd degree misdemeanor - 60 days in jail
First degree misdemeanor - 1 year in jail
3rd degree felony- 5 years in prison
2nd degree felony - 15 years in prison
1st degree felony - 30 years in prison
Life felony - life in prison
Capital felony - death penatly

In addition to the degree of felony, each felony offense also has a level for sentencing purposes, ranging from 1-10. Felony charges of the same degree may have different levels. For example, grand theft ($300-$5,000) and DUI w/ Serious Bodily Injury are both 3rd degree felonies, but grand theft is a level 2 and DUI w/ Serious Bodily Injury is a level 7. As a general rule of thumb, the charge with the higher level will face a potentially higher minimum sentence, but they have they same maximum.

Also, please note that other factors such as a person's previous criminal history, recent release from prison, and use or possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony can change the degree or levels of a felony and both their minimum and maximum sentences. The sentencing laws and guidelines can be very confusing and must be analyzed in detail on a case-by-case basis.

As to the information your provided, it appears that someone has been charged with simple battery, a first degree misdemeanor. This is indicated by the DEGREE - F (first) and LEVEL M (misdemeanor). As charged, that person could be punished by up to a year in county jail or probation. This person should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to evaluate the issues in his or her case.

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