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First Time Offenders

Being charged with a criminal offense for the first time can be an extremely traumatic and stressful experience. Fortunately for individuals with no previous criminal history, there are several options that can help those accused of their first crime avoid jail time and have their charges reduced or dismissed.

While the judicial system affords certain offenders without a criminal background some leniency in regards to sentencing, it is important to understand that this does not mean you should risk going to court without professional legal representation. You will want to fully understand all of your legal options in order to ensure that you obtain the most favorable outcome possible to your case.

Gainesville First Time Offenders Lawyer

If you have been arrested and charged with your first criminal offense, Galigani Law Firm defends the rights of clients in Gainesville, as well as communities like Alachua, Ocala, and Lake City. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys understand the nature of the penalties you face and can work to help resolve your case with the least amount of personal and professional damage possible.

Contact our firm today at (352) 375-0812 or send us a message online to schedule a free, confidential consultation. Our dedicated and compassionate lawyers will review your case and provide you with a fuller understanding of your defense options.

Alachua County First Time Offenders Info

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Common Charges Against First Time Offenders in Florida

There are several different crimes that an individual may be arrested for in Alachua County, but some of the most common offenses people are charged with for the first time include:

You should know that the state of Florida takes all of these charges seriously and may pursue the maximum punishment allowable even if it is your first offense.

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Possible Penalties for First Time Offenders in Gainesville

The level of the consequences you face for your alleged first offense depends on both the type and severity of the crime you have been accused of. Even less serious crimes can involve fines and possible jail time. The maximum sentences for crimes in Florida are as follows:

  • Second-degree misdemeanor — Can result in jail time of up to 60 days and/or fines up to $500.
  • First-degree misdemeanor — Can result in jail time of up to one year and/or fines up to $1,000.
  • Third-degree felony — Can result in prison sentence of up to five years and/or fines up to $5,000.
  • Second-degree felony — Can result in prison sentence of up to 15 years and/or fines up to $10,000.
  • First-degree felony — Can result in prison sentence of up to 30 years and/or fines up to $10,000.
  • Life felony — Can result in life imprisonment and/or fines up to $15,000.
  • Capital felony — Can result in death penalty sentence.

Many individuals face misdemeanor charges for their first offenses, but you should still consult a criminal defense attorney to give yourself the best chance of receiving the most minimal punishment possible.

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How First Time Offenders Avoid Jail Time in Florida

There are a variety of options that alleged offenders have as alternatives to jail time in Alachua County. An individual may agree to enter a Deferred Prosecution Program, County Diversion Program (CDP), Pretrial Diversion Program (PTD), or Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) that offers significantly less consequences than pleading guilty in court. Some of the alternative options a criminal defense lawyer may secure include the following: 

  • Plea Bargain — An experienced attorney can negotiate a deal with the prosecutor in which you receive greatly reduced penalties.
  • Civil Citation Program — First-time juvenile offenders may be eligible to complete community diversion services, intervention services, and/or sanctions that result in no juvenile record upon successful completion.
  • Florida Youthful Offender Act — Under Florida Statute § 958.04, this program provides probation alternatives for alleged offenders between the ages of 18 and 21 and can be extremely helpful for college students facing felony charges.
  • Veterans Treatment Court — Military veterans who have been arrested for non-violent crimes may be eligible to enter treatment programs instead of serving jail time.
  • Mental Health Court — Some individuals who are facing non-violent misdemeanor charges and have been diagnosed with an Axis I mental health illness or a development disability can be eligible to have their charges dismissed upon successful completion of this program.
  • Drug Courts — There are multiple specialty courts for first-time drug offenses in Alachua County and Florida's Eighth Judicial Circuit, including Juvenile Drug Court for alleged youth offenders, Dependency Drug Court for chemically dependent parents, and Adult Felony Drug Court for other individuals charged with substance abuse offenses.

While many of these programs are attractive and popular options for those facing their first offenses, you will still want to have an attorney make sure you are accepting the best agreement for your particular situation that does not have adverse affects on your personal or professional life.

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Galigani Law Firm | A First Time Offenders Lawyer in Gainesville

Galigani Law Firm aggressively defends the rights of alleged offenders in Alachua County, but we also represent clients in Gilchrist County, Levy County, Marion County, and Columbia County. Our criminal defense attorneys have a wealth of experience in helping clients facing all types of criminal charges.

If you were arrested for the first time, don't take any chances by assuming the prosecutor will take it easy on you because of your lack of a criminal history. Take advantage of a free consultation with our firm by contacting us today at (352) 375-0812 or sending us a message online.

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Galigani Law Firm proudly serves Gainesville and surrounding areas of
North Central Florida.