First Time Criminal Offenders

Incidents happen, and sometimes things can go out of our control. Even those with squeaky-clean records may find themselves in trouble with the law. The event may have been a mistake. It may not even be your fault. However, the court waits for no one and statutory penalties still await first-time offenders.

In Florida, there are a few options for first time offenders. This is because the State of Florida wants to avoid overcrowding in jail/prison and case overload for the District Attorney’s office. These programs are known as diversion programs, and can lead to having your charges being reduced or dropped.

Admittance to these programs is not always easy. In many cases, a defendant may be completely unaware that the option is available to them. It is highly recommended that you seek legal representation if you have been charged with a criminal offense. A skilled attorney can uncover any programs or options that can apply to you.

Port St. Lucie Attorneys for First Time Offenders

When it comes to your future, you do not want to settle. If you or someone you know has been criminally charged, it is vital that you gain legal representation. A strategic attorney can identify all programs that apply to your charges, and help you avoid a lifelong criminal record.

Our attorneys at Meltzer & Bell are experienced in criminal defense. We have a collective 20 years of knowledge regarding pretrial and drug court diversion programs. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell will ensure that you are informed of every possible route your case can take. The choice to participate is up to you, but the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell will advise you of every choice available.

Meltzer & Bell defends those accused of criminal allegations in the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida including Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Rio, and Stuart.

Do not wait another moment. Contact the attorneys by phone at (772) 291-2534.

Overview for First Time Criminal Charges in Florida


Common First Offenses in St. Lucie County, Florida

There are various types of offenses that a person can commit in violation of Florida law. However, there are some offenses that are more common for first time offenders. Some of these offenses include:


Pretrial Diversion Programs in St. Lucie County & Martin County

The State Attorney has a huge caseload. In some instances, it may be beneficial for the prosecution to offer pretrial diversion. Pretrial diversion is an opportunity to complete several conditions mandated by the court, in exchange of having criminal charges reduced or dropped.

If the prosecutor is willing to offer pretrial diversion, the defendant may plead guilty or no contest. The program will include several requirements such as probation, community service, counseling, interventions, and fines.

Once all conditions have been completed, he or she may have their charges reduced or dropped. The conviction will not be entered, and you will no longer have a criminal record. Additionally, you may have the opportunity to seal or expunge the charges in a certain amount of time.


Drug Courts in St. Lucie County & Martin County

In Florida, if you are facing drug charges you may be eligible for drug court. If the prosecutor, judge, and alleged victim determine that an offender is eligible, then he or she will be placed on the drug court docket. Drug court is an opportunity for first-time drug offenders to avoid incarceration.

Those who are interested in drug court are required to see an evaluator. With the evaluator, the alleged offender will be undergo a physical and psych evaluation. This evaluation will determine if you have a chemical dependency that needs to be treated.

After the evaluation, you will be recommended to a drug treatment program. Most drug treatment programs require intervention, counseling, and inpatient treatment. These requirements will be dependent on the severity of the addiction.

Take note, that once drug court is completed, the alleged offender will have the opportunity to reduce or even drop charges. However, to do this the alleged offender must plead guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) to their charges. If the alleged offender violates the rules or fails to complete drug court, he or she will be sentenced back to traditional court.


Mental Health Court in St. Lucie County & Martin County

In some circumstances, mental health is the pivoting factor to the crime. Some may have been experiencing a psychotic symptoms, or was experiencing temporary insanity which caused the crimes. For cases like these, the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida offers mental health court.

Similar to drug and pretrial programs, the prosecutor, judge and defense must agree upon the option of mental health court. If the alleged offender chooses to participate in mental health court, he or she must fulfill certain conditions. These conditions may include treatment, vocational rehab, medication, and other requirements.

If the alleged offender is successful in completing the program, he or she will have their charges dismissed. If they choose, the offender may be able to seal or expunge the charges after a period of time.


Additional Resources

Mental Health Court – Visit the official website for the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida. Learn more information regarding mental health court and what its purpose is. Gain access to more resources and information regarding mental health court in St. Lucie County and Martin County.

St. Lucie County Pretrial Program – Visit the official website for the St. Lucie County Court. Read more about the purpose of the program in Florida’s justice system. Gain access to the court’s location, phone number, and hours of operation.

Drug Court – Visit the official website for the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida. Learn the reasoning behind the drug court, who it applies to, and the 16 specialty court programs available in the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida.


Lawyers for First Time Offenders in St. Lucie County

Have you been arrested for the first time in the State of Florida? Are you currently overwhelmed and unsure what to do? Make the first step to your defense now. Contact the defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell today.

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell have over 20 years of experience handling cases for first-time offenders. We approach each case with new eyes and open ears. Our attorneys will never leave you with questions. It is our job to keep you informed on every step of the legal process. This includes uncovering any pretrial programs that may be available to you. Do what is best for your future. Contact us today.

Meltzer & Bell practices law throughout the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida including Rio, Jupiter Island, Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, and Stuart.

Act now, not later. Call the attorneys at (772) 291-2534 today.


This article was last updated on September 5, 2018.

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