What is a first offender program? This is a way for you as the defendant to possibly avoid the full effects of a criminal prosecution, if you have never received a prior criminal record or felony conviction. If you complete the first offender program, in many cases, you will be able to keep a conviction off of your record. In most circumstances, these types of programs will be available to you if you have not committed a violent or serious offense. In some states, for example, the court may approve one of these programs if you attend regular classes, make restitution, sign a contract, and only if you have no prior convictions. It really varies from state to state.
More First Offender Programs
San Francisco has a very important first offender program known as the SAGE Project, which has been replicated in many cities since. It is available to those who have been arrested for prostitution-related crimes. They use their First Offender Prostitution Project to remove women from exploitation and to give proper education to “johns” who may have been involved in the crime.
In some cases, “first offender” does not relate to diversion programs. For instance, someone who was convicted of their first DUI may be referred to an alcohol treatment program as a condition of their punishment rather than a way to get out of a conviction. This is still in the realm of these other programs. The same can be said for many domestic violence cases.
Federal First Offender Program
The Federal First Offender Act is another option. This is available when a defendant does not have any state or federal convictions concerning controlled substances. If you are a defendant and want to be in this program, you must have plead guilty or have been found guilty without a conviction being entered into your record. If you are under 21 years of age and complete this program, you could see your case expunged or sealed when you are finished.
It is very important to understand your options when you have committed your first crime. A first offender program could help you when you want to avoid the effects of a full prosecution. Luckily, we can help you, so give us a call today.