Individuals who are charged with a crime for the first time are often filled with fear and confusion. Questions about what their future holds, or whether or not they will have to go to jail are among their most pressing concerns. It is important to understand that being arrested for a crime does not automatically mean it will lead to jail time. With the help of a dedicated defense lawyer, you may be able to avoid time behind bars.
Attorney for First Time Offenders in Austin
If you have been arrested for a crime and you are a first time offender, Kevin Bennett will do everything within his power to help you avoid a criminal conviction and time behind bars. Contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today if you have been charged with your first offense in West Lake Hills, Austin, Rollingwood, Travis County, Sunset Valley, Pflugerville, Lago Vista, Lakeway or the surrounding areas.
Kevin Bennett will review your circumstances and put you in the best position to keep your criminal record clean and maintain your freedom. Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to schedule a free consultation about the details of your case.
Important Information for 1st Offenders in Texas
- Common Crimes Committed by First Time Offenders
- What are My Options as a First Time Offender?
- Having Your Record Sealed or Expunged
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Common Crimes Committed by First Time Offenders
Austin in a large city that is known for having a diverse group of people with laid back attitudes. Sometimes such diversity coupled with free-spirited residents leads to a variety of nonviolent, first-time arrest. Some of the most common first offenses committed in Travis County are:
- Marijuana Possession
- Public Intoxication
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol
- Reckless Driving
- Furnishing Alcohol to Minors
- Shoplifting or Theft
Although many of these offenses are considered misdemeanors, it is important to consult with an experienced Austin defense attorney who can protect your future and ensure that you are making informed legal decisions.
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What are My Options as a First Time Offender?
Judges in Texas typically aim to rehabilitate first-time offenders. It is generally believed that if a first-time offender is kept out of the jail/prison system, he or she is less likely to fall into a cycle by becoming a repeat offender. The options that are usually available to most first time offenders include:
- An intervention with the prosecution before formal charges are filed – During this time your defense attorney will emphasize that your record is otherwise clean and that this was a one-time mistake. In some cases, this intervention can result in the charges being dropped or reduced.
- Pretrial Intervention or Diversion Programs – These programs are usually available to first-time offenders who have committed nonviolent misdemeanor offenses. If an individual successfully completes a program of this nature, his or her charges can be dismissed.
- Specialty Courts – This option allows the defendant to have his or her case heard in a specialty court that will sentence the individual to rehabilitative punishments such as community service, counseling, and drug or alcohol education courses, instead of jail.
- Plea bargaining – In some cases, an individual can plead guilty or no contest to the charges against him or her, in exchange for reduced penalties such as community supervision, probation, recovery programs, or other penalties that don’t involve imprisonment.
Even if you are a first time offender, you are not guaranteed to be granted any of the options listed above. In order to give yourself the best chance of avoiding a criminal record or time behind bars, it would be best to hire a criminal defense attorney in Travis County who can assist you throughout the criminal process.
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Having Your Record Sealed or Expunged
Even if an individual completes a pretrial diversion program, or accepts a plea deal, there will be a record of the arrest on his or her criminal record. Having a criminal record could severely limit your educational and occupational opportunities.
Fortunately, there is a way to have your criminal record sealed or expunged in Austin. For individuals seeking to have their records sealed or expunged, they must first meet certain requirements before they are eligible.
If an individual has his or her record sealed, an Order of Non-Disclosure will prevent criminal justice agencies from disclosing any information regarding the criminal offense to third parties and you may deny that you were ever arrested, except in a future a criminal proceeding. However, certain government agencies and licensing agencies will be able to access the record.
If an individual is granted a record expunction, the record will be destroyed or completely erased. No entity will have access to it, you can legally deny that you were ever arrested for the offense, and it will be as if the incident never happened.
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Finding An Attorney for First Time Arrests in Austin
Contact Kevin Bennett today to discuss how you can avoid a criminal record and time behind bars after being charged with your first criminal offense. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents clients in Sunset Valley, Austin, Travis County, Rollingwood, Pflugerville, Lago Vista, Lakeway and the surrounding areas, who have been arrested or charged with their first crime.
Call Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 so that he can begin developing a strategy that could keep your record clear and out of jail.