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First-Time Offenders

Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Advocates for First-Time Offenders

Skilled attorney has 30 years of experience securing pre-trial intervention for St. Petersburg and Clearwater clients

At Law Offices of Thomas G. Tripp, the majority of our clients are simply good people who are caught in bad situations. Often, a misunderstanding or momentary lapse of judgment has resulted in a first-time arrest. If this has happened to you, Law Office of Thomas G. Tripp has the skills and experience to represent you successfully. We take full advantage of any leniency that may be available to you as a first-time offender.

What is a criminal pretrial court intervention program?

Pretrial court intervention, also called pretrial diversion or deferred prosecution, allows a first-time offender to keep an incident off the person’s record without having to win the case at trial. Available in many states, pretrial court intervention gives a person accused of a crime, who has never been arrested before, a chance to avoid being branded with a felony conviction for the rest of his/her life.

Pretrial intervention programs vary, but they usually have similar basic features, including:

  • The person must not have a prior arrest record.
  • The charge the person is facing must be a relatively minor one, such as petty theft or drug possession.
  • The person is unlikely to offend again.

A pretrial intervention program gives a generally good person who did something foolish a second chance. The program can also provide a second chance to someone who got into trouble over a drug addiction problem but can probably be helped with treatment.

After a person is accepted into the pretrial intervention program, he enters a plea of guilty to the charge. The judge withholds the order finding the person guilty for a certain period of time and then places the defendant under certain restrictions similar to being on probation.

If the individual follows the terms and conditions of the pretrial intervention agreement, the charges are dismissed and the person is not convicted of the crime. This gives the individual a chance to start over with a clean record.

If the defendant violates the terms of the agreement, he is brought back to court for a sentencing hearing.

Sealing and expungement

Another option to mitigate the impact of criminal charges for a first-time offender is sealing and expungement. Expungement is the process by which a criminal conviction is permanently erased from your record. It is as though the conviction never happened. Typically, expungement is used for juveniles, and in cases where a charge was dismissed or for which you were found not guilty. Law Offices of Thomas G. Tripp is skilled in securing expungement of records for clients who are first-time offenders.

Call a Florida criminal defense lawyer for a free consultation

If you are a first-time offender charged with a crime in Florida, call Law Offices of Thomas G. Tripp at 727.544.8819 or contact us online for a free phone consultation. We have the skills and experience to get you through the process with as little damage as possible to your record and reputation.