Your first arrest in Florida can be traumatic. The good news, however, is that first-time offenders are often treated with more lenience resulting in a favorable outcome. With the help of a first-time offender defense attorney in Palm Beach and Broward County, your lawyer can intervene and help convince the prosecution that your offense is a one-time event that will never occur again.
For example, in the Arnold case, it was stated that first time offenders are more likely to receive leniency as compared to multiple-time offenders. Arnold v. State, 566 So.2d 37, 38. This is because when a person habitually commits crimes, the State has the legitimate interest of punishing those who are a danger to society multiple times. Id. The State’s interest is to protect citizens from offenders, but first time offenders are more likely to be viewed as a person who would never commit the crime they are charged with again. This can create leniency. When in front of a trial judge, the judge has the power to not impose an enhanced or maximum sentence for a crime when there is a first-time offender. Id.
Most Common Crimes Committed by First-Time Offenders in Florida
If you or a loved one was arrested for the first time, they’re more than likely not a hardcore criminal. Just one bad decision mixed with bad timing can result in an arrest. Some of the most common crimes committed by first-time offenders in Florida include:
- Marijuana Possession
- Aggravated Assault
Of these crimes, the most common first-time offense is drug or alcohol-related.
Florida Marijuana First-Time Offenders
Despite recent lenience on marijuana arrests in Florida, Florida still has some of the strictest cannabis laws in the country. If just 20 grams or less of marijuana is found in your possession, you can be charged with drug possession and face up to one year in jail plus a $1,000 fine. Anything over 20 grams can result in a felony paired with up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If you were arrested with a first-time offense marijuana charge in Palm Beach or Broward Counties, contact our office or call us at (561) 671-5995 to protect your freedom.
Florida DUI First-time Offenders
DUI charges carry some of the harshest penalties in Florida and are most common among first-time offenders. It’s important to know that just one drink can result in blowing a .08 which is the legal limit in Florida. Even for first-time offenders, Florida Statute 316.193 requires mandatory punishments imposed by the court such as:
- Community Service
- Jail Time
- Vehicle Immobilization
Some alternatives to fines or jail time may be a DUI diversion program. If you have been charged with DUI, you may be eligible for the Palm Beach County 1st Time D.U.I. Offender Program. A DUI diversion program allows offenders to enter rehabilitation and avoid criminal penalties. For many, this is a great alternative to a possible conviction, especially those with a clean record.
Lawyer in Palm Beach and Broward Counties for First-Time Offenders
Following an arrest, a defendant, as well as their loved one(s), can experience the stress of what is going to happen next after their first arrest. Undoubtedly, the first reaction for most people that get arrested is to think about their future and finding help to get themselves out of the situation they are in. For most people, their first step is hiring an attorney. The Law Offices of Matthew Konecky strives to give you all the information you need to make the right decisions in your case. If you or a loved one has been arrested for the first time, contact us or call us at (561) 671-5995 so we can get started on your case immediately.