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  • Writer's pictureAttorney Joseph Soler

First-Time Offender? Is This Your First Time Charged With A Crime In Sarasota or Bradenton?

Attorney For First-Time Offenders

If this is the first time you have been charged with a crime in Sarasota or Manatee County you are probably scared and nervous about what is going to happen next in your criminal case. If you have never been in legal trouble before and have no prior criminal history, there is usually a lot we can do to help you.

Keep you from going to jail

If this is your first time being arrested, even if it is a bad case for you and the prosecutor can easily prove the case, there are many things that a good defense attorney can do to keep you out of jail. Some of those things are:

-Hire an investigator who will talk to witnesses, find surveillance video, and exculpatory evidence

-Explore options that will result in the case getting dismissed, such as available pretrial intervention programs. You may then be eligible to have the case expunged.

-Present mitigating evidence to the prosecutor, such as the fact that you have no prior criminal history, are employed, take care of your family, etc.

-Look for problems with the case or illegal actions on the part of the police that can result in evidence being suppressed and the case getting dropped.

-Fight for a withhold of adjudication that will avoid you being found guilty of the charge and may open the possibility of later having the case sealed from public view.

We have reduced rates for first-time offenders

Our law firm offers reduced legal fees for people with no prior criminal history. Let us know what your are charged with and be sure to let us know if you have never been charged with a crime before and we will offer you a discounted rate.

Court programs available for first-time criminal offenders

Depending on the criminal charge, you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program such as pretrial intervention. Pretrial intervention is a program run by the Sarasota County and Manatee County State Attorney's Offices. It is generally for people that have never been charged with a crime before (however there are sometimes exceptions made). It offers a defendant the opportunity to complete the program and have the case dismissed. The length of the program, the cost, and the terms to be completed will depend on what the defendant is charged with.

Were you charged with a misdemeanor? We can waive your appearance so that you do not have to go to most court dates

One of the things that we do for our clients charged with misdemeanors is waive their appearance for their first court date (called the arraignment) and the court date after the arraignment (called pretrial conference) so that they do not have to go to court and can instead focus on family, work, etc. Our attorneys will go to court on their behalf.

Were you charged with a felony? We can waive your appearance for some of the court dates

Similar to a misdemeanor, if you were charged with a felony we can also waive your appearance for the arraignment (the first court date) so that you do not have to go. The felony court date after arraignment is called a case management. Although the judge will order the defendant's appearance at case management, that court date can be canceled by the filing of a trial stipulation (call us for more information).

The prosecutor will look more favorably on you if you have no prior criminal history

Prosecutors, especially on the felony level, usually see defendants with horrible criminal histories. The prosecutor (and also the judge) will oftentimes be more agreeable with the criminal defense attorney when the client is a first-time offender with no criminal history and this makes it easier for us to do our job.

Call us for a free case evaluation

When you call us we will review the police report for your case and offer you our opinion as to what is your best course of action. Also, if you are eligible for a pretrial diversion program we can contact the prosecutor handling the case and try to negotiate a deal that would allow you to complete the program and have your charges dropped.

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