If you have been charged with a first offense, this means that this was the first time that you were charged or convicted with that type of crime. If you are a first-time offender, you may feel intimidated by your charges, but you should know that courts and judges tend to be more lenient in criminal trials when an offender has committed a first offense. For instance, instead of prison time, a first-time offender may just be sentenced to parole or probation.
What to Expect After a First Offense
The unfortunate part of a first offense is that, if you commit more crimes down the road, the first offense can lead to greater penalties. The legal penalties only increase with repeat offenses, especially if you continuously commit the same type of crime, known as sentence enhancement. Many of these prior offenses are felonies, though misdemeanor crimes apply as well. For example, if you commit petty theft, you may only find yourself in jail for a few days to a few months. However, if you are convicted of a repeat, you may find higher crimes and a longer period in jail, by months or even years! After several offenses, you may also find your misdemeanors turning into felonies with much heavier penalties.
You may, however, have the opportunity to become involved with a first offender program. First-offender programs are diversionary programs that offer other options for first-time offenders of certain crimes. Through these programs, you may find that your charges will not be entered officially into your record, which could mean better opportunities in the future. However, they are only available for certain offenders, so sometimes it will depend on the severity of your crime.
When you are dealing with a first-time offense, the law can be quite intimidating, and you could find yourself involved in a complex battle that does not make sense to you. Because of this, you should proceed with the help of a defense attorney that understands the legalities involved with your case. Call us today at The Law Office of Peter Blair for more information on how to proceed. We will offer you assistance after your first offense and help you understand the laws.