Texas First-Time Offender Programs and Qualifications

Criminal defense attorneys can offer assistance with first-time offender programs in Texas.

Being charged with a crime can result in life-changing consequences, but for some, there may be a chance to start over. For many non-violent offenses, there may be alternatives rather than going to jail or having your record tainted. This would be a first-time offender program, and if you are eligible, it will be in lieu of other criminal consequences.

If you have been charged with a crime, let an experienced Austin criminal defense attorney assist you in preparing the best defense possible, and helping you negotiate a deal for the first-time offender program.

What Exactly is a First-Time Offender Program?

A first-time offender program is designed to help the accused avoid a full criminal conviction, while also helping rehabilitate the individual so he or she does not commit any subsequent crimes. A first-time offender program may require the defendant to attend specific courses, undergo counseling or treatment, or stay on probation for a particular amount of time. The trade-off is that the probation might not be entered on the individual’s criminal record, and there is a good chance of avoiding jail and any other consequences. There are both federal and state-based programs, which vary.

First-Time Offender Programs in Texas

Texas has its own first-time offender programs, which are sometimes referred to as diversion programs. There is a DWI/DUI program that helps seal the records of first-time offenders from public view. This would mean that someone charged with a DWI would not have to report the charge to a potential employer.

There is also the “First Time Offender Felony Charge Act.” This is applicable for first-time drug offenders facing felony charges who have no prior convictions. The offender could receive alternative sentencing which would help them avoid the maximum sentence by participating in various programs like drug rehab and/or counseling. This is a great alternative given that a felony drug charge in Texas can land you in prison for 10 to 99 years, plus large fines up to $100,000.

Ineligible Crimes for First Offender Programs

There are some crimes that are not eligible for first-time offender programs. These include intentional homicide or murder, which will not have a reduction in sentencing. If the crime involves a violent act or there was an implied threat of violence, it will not qualify, either. Defendants who are facing a first-time felony for a sex-related crime will not be eligible either.

Contact a Travis County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, even seemingly minor ones, it is important to retain a skilled Travis County criminal defense attorney. There may be a number of different charges that are eligible for first-time offender programs that you may not even consider. Some of these include reckless driving, assault, possession of a controlled substance, assault, criminal mischief, and more.

Texas takes any and all offenses seriously, no matter how seemingly minor. Contact the skilled team at Granger and Mueller PC today at 512-474-9999 to schedule a consultation.

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