What Is a Drug First Offender Plea?
First time drug offenders in Georgia have the opportunity to avoid a conviction on their record by participating in, and adhering to, a drug first offender plea program. Under the First Offender Act, certain first-time offenders may plead guilty to their crime with deferred adjudication, meaning the plea and conviction will not show up on their record to employers, housing providers, and the like.
Not all first time offenders are eligible for this program and those that are eligible need a judge’s permission to make a first offender plea. Make sure you review the list of restrictions on first offender pleas. Having an attorney help you at this point is a good idea. A judge will use discretion in deciding on first offender pleas so consult with an experience Georgia criminal defense attorney if this is your intention. Although the plea keeps the conviction off of the offender’s criminal record, the offender may still face a period of confinement, followed by probation. During this period of probation, drug offenders must adhere to certain terms and conditions. If they do not, their status as first offender can be immediately revoked. The judge can then enter the adjudication of guilt, putting the conviction on the offender’s criminal record, and can sentence the offender up to the maximum allowable sentence for their crime. In this respect, first offenders do not get off easy; they simply are given a second chance but with very little leeway. The terms of the probation may be strict, requiring drug testing, meetings with probation officers, counseling, and drug education classes.
First offender pleas are not available for those facing DUI charges or those facing serious or violent felony charges. Minor, non-violent drug offenses are generally eligible for a first offender plea. Speak with an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney regarding your eligibility for pleading as a first offender. Entering a first offender plea can keep your criminal record clean, helping prevent discrimination from potential employers, housing, or benefit providers. A drug first offender plea may be a good option for you if you are confident you can adhere to the terms and conditions of your probation and you are motivated to keep your record clean.
If you are facing drug charges, our skilled attorneys are here to help. Thomas C. Rowsey, P.C. will work hard to protect your rights and obtain you a favorable outcome. Based in historic Roswell, GA, Thomas C. Rowsey Attorneys at Law serves those across the greater Atlanta metropolitan area including Roswell, Alpharetta, Marietta, Milton, Johns Creek, Cumming and Sandy Springs. Contact our office today at (770) 993-5317 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation. Offering expert legal counsel in personal injury, criminal defense and family law, Thomas C. Rowsey Attorneys at Law are here to help.
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