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First Time Offenders in Miami, Florida

It can be a grim experience when you are arrested for the first time. It’s not usual to be able to talk yourself out of it, even if you are a first time offender. This reason to ask for leniency may not be good enough and you could end up being incarcerated for a crime you don’t really believe you ever committed. It’s a wise decision to talk to Miami criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes, who will know how to handle your case and make every effort to ensure you don’t end up in prison for a crime you didn’t commit.

Fist Time Offenders in Miami, Florida

In Florida, there are some special programs available for first time offenders to follow which are referred to as diversion programs but there is no certainty you will get accepted for one. However, willingness to attend could result in your charges being completely dropped or you may be able to get your charge reduced to a less serious offense.

First-time offender information center

The number of offenses that someone under Florida law can be charged with is limited only by the number of which have been written in the Florida Statutes. However, without a doubt some offenses are more frequently committed than others which are:

 

  • drunken driving / dui;

  • recklessly driving;

  • petit theft;

  • possessing a controlled substance;

  • criminal trespass;

  • minor found with alcohol;

  • possessing marijuana, misdemeanor or felony;

  • criminal mischief.

Often these offenses are misdemeanors but they can still have severe consequences such as a permanent record or even time spent in jail. The Florida state attorney isn’t obliged to let a first-time offender off, while pleading guilty isn’t a guarantee that jail time will not be served.

Pretrial Diversion

Prosecutors may be prepared to offer a first-time offender a pretrial diversion which, if granted, means that he or she may or may not plead guilty and is ordered to complete a period of probation and any other penalty such as being issued with a fine, taking part in community service and counseling and anything else the defense attorney negotiates with the state attorney. As long as the negotiated terms are successfully completed, the charge should be dropped and a conviction isn’t entered. This means the records could be expunged or sealed. Pretrial diversion is for non violent crimes only and if the defendant fails to follow the terms a conviction is entered and further punishment will take place.

Drug court in Florida

This is a key diversion program for not only first offenders, but is offered to people who have been charged with possessing a controlled substance, or drug paraphernalia, but who don’t have any record of violence. It involves a12 month intensive rehabilitation program and random testing for drugs.

A first DUI charge

Some offenders may be eligible to follow a DUI diversion program. If this is completed the DUI charge is lowered to reckless driving once a long probation period has been completed and also DUI school, a treatment program, a period of community service, vehicle immobilization, and ignition interlock has been used successfully. Not everyone gets the chance to complete this program and it’s not for anyone who has the following:

  • a BAC over .20;

  • has been in a crash;

  • had a pet or child passenger in the vehicle when apprehended;

  • has a first offense already recorded;

  • failed to have when committing the offense a valid driver's license.

The prosecutor may also decide that a diversion program would not be appropriate.

If you are a first offender there are many options open to you to reduce the effects, but you will need Miami criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes, guiding you through the process. Call him at 305-644-1800 today!

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Albert M. Quirantes | Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Office