According to The First Offender Act, a criminal defendant can be exonerated of guilt and discharged as a matter of law despite being guilty. However, it is very important that you know when and why to use the First Offender Act. Because of the risks and rewards associated with this law, you should know as much as possible before using it. Contact our office to discuss your options, and read the information below to better understand First Offender sentences.
Can anyone use the First Offender Act?
You can use the First Offender Act only if you’ve never used it before, and you’ve never been convicted of a felony. However, the First Offender Act is not available for serious violent felonies, serious sex crimes, exploiting children or the elderly, crimes against law enforcement officers, or driving under the influence.
How does the First Offender Act work?
You must request a first offender sentence from the judge. After making this request, the judge will explain your rights and the conditions of your sentence as a first offender.
What happens if I violate the terms of the First Offender Act?
Failing to comply with the court ordered conditions of your sentence will lead to an adjudication of guilt for your original charges. This means you will automatically have a criminal conviction on your record. Moreover, you will also be re-sentenced and subject to the maximum punishment for your original charges.
Can I use my First Offender Act for a Misdemeanor?
Yes, but if you use it for a minor crime, you will not be able to use it again. There are many options an experienced criminal defense attorney can pursue to help you avoid a criminal conviction and preserve your First Offender Rights for the future. Speak with a lawyer to examine those options, and avoid using the First Offender Act if you don’t need to. Simply planning not to commit any crimes doesn’t mean you won’t have a future run-in with the law.
Can I carry a firearm if I was sentenced under the First Offender Act?
No. Your right to possess a firearm will be restored ONLY AFTER THE COMPLETION of your First Offender Sentence. As a result, carrying a firearm during your first offender sentence can lead to your prosecution. Moreover, possessing a firearm can lead to the revocation of your First Offender Sentence.
Is a First Offender Sentence on my background check?
If you are serving, or have completed your First Offender Sentence, you WILL NOT have a conviction on your record. However, your arrest and other public records may appear on your employer’s private background check. Click here to learn more about your criminal record and background checks.
Legal Counsel for a First Offender Sentence
Contact us to learn more about your options and First Offender Sentences. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you protect your rights and your record.