Being arrested and charged with a crime for the first time can be an intimidating and confusing experience. You may not be sure of your rights and you may not know what to expect. Whether you have been charged because of a misunderstanding or you made a mistake, it is crucial you have an attorney guide you through the process.
If this is your first time being arrest or you have no prior record, special options might be available so that you can resolve your case under the most favorable terms and then qualify to seal or expunge any record of the arrest or prosecution.
When you have been arrested, you have a right to ask for legal counsel. Do not speak with law enforcement officers until your lawyer is present. Even a misdemeanor conviction has the potential to alter your future. If convicted of a crime, you could face jail time, fines or both. However, there are alternatives, and a criminal defense lawyer can help.
Attorney for First-Time Offenders in Melbourne, FL
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime for the first time, it is important you take control of the situation. Contact a Melbourne criminal defense attorney who can help first-time offenders clear their names. Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy has experience getting a favorable outcome for clients who have been arrested for the first time.
Call (321) 253-3447 to schedule a free case consultation. Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy represents clients throughout the Brevard County area, including Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, Grant-Valkaria, Indialantic, Indian Harbor Beach, Malabar, Melbourne Beach and Melbourne Village.
First-Time Offender Information Center
- Common First Offenses in Brevard County
- Avoiding Jail Time as a First Offender
- Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyer for First-Time Offenders
When you have been arrested for a crime, it is important you take the accusations against you seriously. Even if this is your first run-in with law enforcement, you still could face severe penalties, depending on the crime you are accused of committing. Although you may be confident in your innocence, what you say can be used against you.
If you have never been arrested, you may not think you would ever need an attorney. However, when you are charged with a crime you should have legal counsel to defend your rights. In Florida, some of the most common crimes committed by first-time offenders include:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Drug possession, including marijuana possession
- Domestic violence
- Theft or property crimes
If you are considered a first-time offender, there may be alternatives to jail time. Florida has several programs in place designed to help offenders who have been arrested for the first time, rather than putting them behind bars. Getting help to those who have been arrested for the first time may prevent them from committing crimes in the future.
Pretrial diversion program
First-time offenders in the 18th Judicial Circuit, which includes Brevard County, may be eligible for a misdemeanor pretrial diversion program. This program allows first-time offenders charged with misdemeanors, including drug possession and DUI, a chance to avoid criminal prosecution.
Participants sign a contract with the state, which waives your right to a speedy trial and states you will comply with program requirements and perform the necessary sanctions. The term can last anywhere from six months to a year and can include some form of probation, counseling, drug education classes, rehabilitation treatment and supervision.
If the program is successfully completed, the state would agree to drop the charges in that specific case against the first-time offender, allowing him or her to avoid a criminal record.
If you face drug charges, you may be eligible for drug court. Brevard County Drug Court is part of the pretrial intervention program, which was started in 1994. The program offers a sequence of drug education and treatment programs for felony drug offenders. The Drug Court judge places participants in the program and monitors their progress.
The program is broken into three phases, with the first being a drug treatment program. If that is completed, participants move on to the next phase, which also includes treatment. The third phase includes more treatment, in addition to 50 hours of community service.
An experienced Melbourne criminal defense attorney can use a defendant’s clean criminal history as a way to negotiate a plea agreement favorable to the defendant. The plea could mean the defendant could have penalties other than jail time, such as probation, house arrest or community service hours.
If you are a first-time offender, there may be an alternative to jail time and a criminal record. A Melbourne criminal defense attorney at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy can help you find a way to combat your charges. We can help you understand the charges pending against you, the elements of the offense that must be proven at trial, and special defenses that might be available to a first time offender.
Call (321) 253-3447 to discuss your case and schedule a free consultation.
This article was last updated on Friday, May 18, 2018.