What Happens If You Are a First Time Criminal Offender in Florida

criminal offender

First Time Offender In Florida

A first-time offender is a person facing a criminal conviction for the first time. Depending on the crime, the courts in Florida can show mercy to a first-time offender. The charges can either be dropped or rehabilitated instead of facing imprisonment. 

This option is not available for all crimes. This privilege is only available for non-violent crimes, where the offender is not a threat to the community. The offenses may include, 

If you are charged with a violent crime or crime involving weapons for the first time, you may not obtain mercy from the court. Severe offenses of first-time offenders include;

  1. Hit and run
  2. Burglary
  3. Robbery
  4. Kidnapping
  5. Murder and manslaughter 
  6. Sex crimes
  7. Aggravated assault
  8. Domestic violence

What happens if it is your first offense in Florida?

  1. Charges Can Be Dropped or Reduced

A criminal defense attorney can use the lack of previous offenses to present your case in court as a first-time offender. The attorney may convince the prosecutor to file a lesser charge or even drop the charges.

  1. Avoiding Conviction

A withhold of adjudication is often available for first-timer offenders in Florida. The state sees rehabilitation as preventing the person from pursuing a criminal career; therefore, the first-time offender that receives withhold of adjudication is not convicted. 

  1. Sealing or Expunging of Record

If you obtain a not convicted adjudication or dismissal as a first-offender in Florida, the court may seal or expunge your record. Sealing or expunging the record is a big advantage because having a criminal record can thwart your future career and educational opportunities. You can get a suitable attorney to help you with expunging your records.

  1. Pretrial Diversion

Pretrial diversion can be offered to a first-time offender by the prosecutors. If it is granted, they may or may not plead guilty. You can be ordered to complete a probation period, be issued a fine, participate in community service and counseling, or anything negotiated by the defense attorney. The charge will be dropped and conviction not entered as long as the negotiated terms are completed. Pretrial is for non-violent offenses only.

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