If you have never broken the law before, then doing so for the first time may seem out of character. As a first-time offender, you are in a good position in some ways. This is because first-time offenders are usually treated with more leniency than those who are habitual offenders (those who have offended more than once).
It is often believed that first-time offenders are less likely to reoffend after committing their first crime when they have no other history of criminal offenses. As a result, they are often given additional options, such as alternative sentences, to help get them back on the path to living normally in society and contributing in a positive manner.
What is a first-time offender?
A first-time offender is a person who has committed a crime for the first time. This might be someone who has a first-offense drug charge or someone who has a first-offense DUI. When someone is a first-time offender, there is usually a possibility of receiving a more lenient sentence or finding an alternative to prosecution.
It’s possible to be a first-time offender and to face either a misdemeanor or felony charge. Depending on the specific charges you face, you may or may not face time in prison or jail, financial penalties or other punishments if you’re convicted.
The Federal First Offenders Act may apply to your case
The Federal First Offender Act is unique and only applies to first-time offenders. With this act, first-time offenders may be able to complete a period of probation to get a charge dismissed rather than having a conviction entered on their record. This helps prevent black marks on their criminal history that could make it harder to find a place to live, get a job or live normally in society. Sometimes, the arrest and case can also be expunged when the correct requirements are met.
If you are accused of a first-time offense, it’s important to look at your options. You may be able to protect yourself and have this case dismissed or the penalties reduced as a result of your history of good behavior.