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5 Questions First Time Offenders Ask

29 April 2017

Being charged with a crime is an event that will cause any person anxiety and tremendous stress. How much more if you are a first-time offender? If you are a first time offender, chances are, you’ll feel overwhelmed. The current situation is extremely traumatic. Fortunately, you being a first time offender, and your lack of a criminal record can work in your favor.

As a first time offender, you will have many doubts and questions burning in your mind. Here, we have rounded up 5 common questions from first-time offenders like you, to help you clear your mind.

What are the conditions to be considered a first-time offender?

To be considered as a first-time offender, you can have previous arrests, but you cannot have any convictions. Driving offenses are civil infractions and are not considered as criminal violations. However, Driving Under Suspension, Driving Under the Influence, and Reckless Driving are considered criminal traffic violations in Florida.

If you have been previously arrested, then later proven innocent and acquitted, then you are still considered as a first-time offender.

What are the differences between violent and non-violent crimes?

A non-violent crime is a crime that does not inflict physical harm or injuries against another person. Common non-violent crimes include bribery, theft, embezzlement, tax crimes, fraud, drug and alcohol-related crimes, and prostitution, among others.

Violent crimes are crimes where the offender uses or threatens violent force upon the victim. Assault, battery, homicide, sexual assault, domestic violence, armed burglary and robbery, and kidnapping are just some of what is considered violent crimes.

What are the common crimes committed by first-time offenders?

The most common offenses committed by first-time offenders in Florida include:

  • Possession of Controlled Substance
  • Reckless Driving
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Criminal Trespassing
  • Theft
  • Battery
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Florida law takes these offenses very seriously. That is why getting a lawyer is essential to help you get in your case.

After an arrest, what are my options as a first-time offender?

If you’re a first-time offender you may be eligible for pretrial intervention programs

or drug court. The prosecution gives first-time offenders the option to divert out of the court system into a rehabilitation program.  If the program is successfully completed, your charges will be dismissed.

There are a few programs in place for first-time offenders in Florida. These programs can help a defendant keep his or her criminal record clean. These programs include:

  • Pretrial Diversion Program (PTD)
  • Pretrial Intervention (PTI)
  • Back on Track (BOT)
  • Veterans Diversion
  • Mental Health Diversion
  • Drug Court

Should I consult a lawyer?

Yes, yes, yes. A lawyer can help check your eligibility for these programs and negotiate the best possible terms of each program. The advice of a lawyer with extensive experience in your situation is necessary and crucial.

Getting the right lawyer can make or break your chance with your case. A criminal record can have a permanent impact in your life. For one, it can affect your chances of landing a job in the future or getting into a university for your post graduate studies. Get a lawyer that can help protect your record and your future. Call Piotrowski Law today.

Chad Piotrowski - post author

Chad Piotrowski is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida. He is a former Miami-Dade Prosecutor and has practiced criminal law, exclusively, for more than 10 years.

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