Stress, worry, concern, and uncertainty; these are common words associated with an arrest for a criminal case, but they are increased tenfold when it’s a first time offense. Often times when we see a first time offender come in, they aren’t sure what the future holds for them, and they are lost as to how to proceed with the matter. While this can be a trying time, there are some things to be aware of before letting it get the better of you.
The Police Report
At the time of your arrest, it’s common to not dispute the charge of the arresting officer, but it’s during this period that intervention by a professional attorney can be most effective. A police report is drafted as per the process, but after which point it goes to the prosecutor in order to get an official charge filed. Some things to note here:
- Police Reports aren’t infallible
- Prosecutors can change their minds
- Charges can be reduced
As stated, an arresting officer may have missed a crucial piece of evidence on their report. This one part could very well mean the difference between a proper case and the charges being thrown out even before they are placed. In addition to this, a prosecutor may decide that the case isn’t worth pursuing if it’s presented properly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that no charges will be filed, but there’s that chance. Of course, the prosecutor could decide to lower the charge as well, which is likely better than the original circumstance. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to look at the police report and intended charges and tell you if there’s an opportunity for you to reduce your sentence or have the case thrown out entirely. Do not blindly accept any charges that are put in front of you, as the arresting officer may have made an error that could be an advantage for you.
PTI or Pre-Trial Intervention
As someone with little or no prior criminal history, there’s an opportunity for you with diversion programs or PTI’s. They are made available to a first time offender of a third degree felony or misdemeanor. In this program, you’re usually not required to make a court appearance, yet there are certain requirements that must be fulfilled. The most obvious of these being that you shall not be arrested a second time during the program’s run. Completion of the program without any problem will result in a dismissal of the charges. So it’s in your best interest to discuss your options with a professional criminal defense attorney in order to see if you qualify for a PTI program, and therefore can go forward without being convicted of a crime.
Ultimately, there are programs in place that help any first time offender get out of possible convictions. A “clean” record can go a long way in helping your case, depending on the severity of the intended charge. So I highly advise seeking us out for professional help to your first time offense. While we can’t guarantee your case will be removed, you have a much better opportunity with us than you would with others.
If you have any questions, contact criminal justice attorney Patrick Grozinger of Grozinger Law, P.A..