April 20, 2022

A depiction of a criminal defense lawyer discussing a first-time offender program (i.e., pretrial diversion) with a client in court.

If you’ve been charged with a first-time misdemeanor or felony offense, there’s a chance you could face incarceration, fines, probation, and a criminal record. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be eligible for a first-time offender program in Texas (also known as pretrial diversion).

If eligible, you may be able to avoid jail time and/or a criminal record so long as you adhere to the requirements of your program. Working with an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer can drastically increase your odds of avoiding the worst penalties and receiving the most favorable outcome in your case.

Contact a Houston area criminal defense attorney at The Napier Law Firm today to discuss the details of your case.

What Are First Offender’s Programs in Texas?

First offender’s and pretrial diversion programs offered in Texas allow eligible defendants the opportunity to avoid some or all of the effects of a criminal conviction. Further, these programs help rehabilitate first-time offenders by requiring the following, but not limited to:

  • Regular classroom attendance
  • Mental health assessments and treatments
  • Alcohol and/or drug tests
  • Mandatory probation
  • Avoid criminal convictions until the case concludes

Types of Pretrial Diversion Programs in Houston Texas

If participants meet all diversion program requirements, they can avoid most penalties for their first-time felony or misdemeanor offense. That includes case dismissal and avoidance of a criminal record.

There are many types of diversion programs offered in Harris County, including:

  • Misdemeanor Marijuana Program
  • Mental Health Diversion Program
  • Driving With a Suspended License Program
  • Clean and Green Diversion Program
  • DWI Pretrial Diversion
  • Retail Theft Pretrial Intervention
  • Additional specialty court diversion programs

Contact The Napier Firm today to see if your case qualifies for first offender program considerations.

Who Qualifies For First Offender Programs?

Every first offender’s program is different. However, in most cases, defendants who potentially qualify for pretrial diversion must meet the following requirements at a minimum:

  • Must have no prior arrests or convictions
  • Admit guilt for committing a crime
  • Attend monthly meetings with a probation officer
  • Have a job or be enrolled in accredited courses
  • Avoid breaking the law or using illegal drugs while in the program
  • Meet all other program-specific requirements

Depending on the circumstances of your case and the program, defendants enrolled in a pretrial diversion program may be required to do community service, install an ignition interlock device, pay restitution to the victims, etc.

Are There Any First Offender Programs For Federal Charges?

Federal charges are more serious and incur harsher penalties than state offenses. Unfortunately, not all individuals convicted of a first-time federal offense can participate in the program.

The Federal First Offender Act (FFOA) allows certain first-time non-violent drug offenders to complete the terms of the program to avoid conviction. Eligibility for the program typically requires the following but is not limited to:

  • Guilty plea for simple possession charges
  • No prior convictions related to drug possession
  • Has never been enrolled in a first offender’s program at the state or federal level

If you’ve committed a first-time federal offense, it’s in your best interest to consult a proven criminal defense lawyer in Harris County today. The attorneys at The Napier Law Firm focus on getting the best possible outcome for you under the circumstances. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

How Often Do First Time Offenders Go To Jail?

The likelihood of incarceration for first-time offenders depends on the nature of the charges, criminal history, and availability of pretrial diversion programs in your area.

With that in mind, if you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Harris County, working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer offers the best chance of getting your charges dismissed, reduced, or receiving the least penalties possible. Your attorney can:

  • Advocate for your rights
  • Represent you in court
  • Negotiate with the prosecution
  • Investigate your case and present compelling evidence on your behalf
  • Explain your charges and options
  • Fight for the best possible outcome in your case

Contact The Best Lawyer For First-Time Offenses in Houston Today

The criminal defense team at The Napier Law Firm is compassionate, skilled, and prepared to mount a solid defense strategy. We’re dedicated to helping first-time offenders overcome misdemeanor, felony, and federal charges.

Our criminal defense attorneys focus on seeking case dismissals, reduced charges, and pre-trial diversion programs. We serve the following areas:

Contact us today at 713-470-4097 to schedule your free consultation with a Houston area criminal defense lawyer.