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Federal First-Time Offenders

As the name states, the Federal First-Time Offenders Program was designed for individuals charged with a criminal offense, state or federal, for the first time.

First-time offenders are people with no previous run-ins with the law and are often taken aback by being thrown into the criminal system for the first time.

Considering that federal charges usually have harsher penalties than Florida criminal charges, having the opportunity to participate in a diversion program is invaluable.

Attorney for First-Time Offenders in Gainesville, FL

For a first-time offender, finding oneself subject to the Federal criminal justice system can be a big shock. Federal charges are a lot more severe than state charges and may implicate larger scale criminal investigations. With that, however, your rights still apply. It is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney before speaking with any police or investigative officer.

The attorneys at Galigani Law Firm have handled cases with charges against first-time offenders for years and are experienced criminal defense lawyers. Our office takes cases throughout Gainesville and in the surrounding areas of Bradford County, Union County, Putnam County, Gilchrist County, Levy County, Columbia County, and Marion County, Florida.

Call (352) 375-0812 or fill out our online evaluation form to set up an appointment with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.

Overview of Federal First-Time Offenders in Alachua County

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What is the Federal First Offenders Act?

The Federal First-Time Offender's Act (FFOA) created a special diversion or probation program for individuals who face federal drug charges for the first time. The FFOA will only apply to certain drug crimes and only to first-time offenders.

Essentially, the FFOA states that certain individuals subject to non-violent drug possession charges may be eligible to complete a period of probation that would allow the person to have their charges dismissed without a conviction.

Additionally, if the first-time offender successfully completes the diversion program, then he or she will also be able to have the full case expunged.

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Qualifying under 18 U.S.C. § 3607

While being a first-time offender is a requirement for the diversion program, and it will be helpful in plea bargains, getting charges dropped, or a case expunged, not all crimes are eligible for the program under 18 U.S.C. § 3607.

In order to be eligible for the Federal First-Time Offender's Program, the individual must (1) have been found guilty of an offense under 21 U.S.C. § 844, (2) have not, prior to the commission of such offense, been convicted of violating a federal or state law relating to controlled substances, and (3) not have previously been the subject of a disposition under subsection 844.

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Mandatory Conditions of 18 U.S.C. § 3607

In order to remain active in the FFOA program under 18 U.S. § 3607, the individual must maintain certain mandatory conditions for the duration of his or her participation in the program. Those conditions include the following:

  1. the individual must not commit another federal, state, or local crime;
  2. the individual must not unlawfully possess a controlled substance;
  3. the individual must refrain from any unlawful use of a controlled substance;
  4. the individual must submit to one drug test within fifteen (15) days of placement on probation and at least two periodic drug tests thereafter, as determined by the court;
  5. the individual must comply with the requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act as directed by the probation officer, the Bureau of Prisons, or any State sex offender, if applicable;
  6. the individual must pay the assessment imposed in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 3013;
  7. the individual must notify the court of any material change in the individual's economic circumstances that might affect his or hers ability to pay restitution, fines, or special assessments.

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Additional Resources

Sample Probation Order for 18 U.S.C. § 3607 – visit the United States Court's official website, maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the Federal Judiciary. The purpose of this site is to provide information from and about the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government. The site provides a sample form for individuals seeking to qualify for the FFOA program. The form includes information on the mandatory conditions of maintaining probation and the standard conditions of federal probation programs.

18 U.S.C. § 3607 – visit the U.S. Government Publishing Office, the Federal Government's official, digital, secure resources for procuring, cataloging, indexing the official information products of the U.S. Government. The site provides the full statutory language contained in the Federal First-Time Offender's Act.

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Find a Lawyer for First-Time Offenders in Alachua County, FL

Galigani Law Firm is dedicated to providing state and federal first-time offenders with stellar legal services. The lawyers at our first strive to get their clients' charges reduced or dropped and to have the case sealed or expunged.

If you or someone you know is facing federal drug charges for the first time under 21 U.S.C. § 844 in Lake City, Oscala, Starke, Lake Butler, Trenton, Palatka, or Bronson, Florida, then contact our office to find an attorney to represent you.

Call (352) 375-0812 or submit our online evaluation form to schedule a one-on-one with an experienced criminal defense lawyer at our office.

This article was last updated on July 10, 2017.

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