As the old adage goes, everyone makes mistakes. In many cases, a mistake can be forgiven, and the person who made it can get a second chance. If that mistake is a criminal act that would result in a felony conviction, it may be a bit harder to get that chance, but it’s not impossible.
To understand how you can negotiate the best possible outcome for a first offense felony, keep reading.
What Is a First Offense Felony Waiver?
If you have never before committed a felony, you may be eligible for something called a felony waiver. This is a way for someone who has no prior criminal record to avoid the full penalties and consequences of a conviction.
The requirements for felony waivers vary from state to state, and from judge to judge. In general, however, the judge has the option of imposing a less severe sentence.
What Kind of Felony Charges Could Be Waived or Dropped?
Not every felony charge can be dismissed or expunged. If you have committed more serious crimes such as murder, assault, manslaughter, and arson — just to name a few — you will be prosecuted. On the other hand, if you have been arrested and charged with other, less serious crimes, you could benefit from being a first time offender. These types of crimes include:
• Simple battery or assault
• Drug possession, with or without intent to distribute or sell
• Reckless driving or racing
• Alcohol possession by a minor
The courts generally look more favorably upon those who seem to have made a mistake, and are not likely to become repeat offenders.
What Punishment Can a Judge Impose?
Some jurisdictions offer pre-trial diversion or intervention programs. Under the requirements of these programs, first offenders might be ordered to pay restitution, to undergo counseling, and to complete community service. Upon successful completion, the charges against you are dismissed.
Your attorney may be able to intervene with the prosecution and negotiate on your behalf before charges are even filed. After you have been charged, you still have the option of plea bargaining. In both instances, the attorney will emphasize your heretofore clean record and argue that you are not a risk for reoffending.
Lastly, there is drug court, which goes by several different names in different areas. This will require a clinical assessment to determine if your non-drug-related crime was motivated by addiction. After you successfully fulfill the terms of this program, it is possible for your charges to be dismissed so that you no longer have a felony conviction on your record.
Contact a Qualified Attorney
It is nearly impossible for you to negotiate felony waivers or other alternatives to conviction and incarceration by yourself. The first step toward any of these remediations is to contact a skilled, experienced criminal attorney. They will hear the facts of your arrest and help you determine which path to take.
The attorneys at Fliszar Law are here to help. We offer a free consultation so you can find out how we approach first offense felony cases. Give us a call and let us take care of the rest.