- First-Time Offender
For anyone arrested for a 1st offense, the goal should be protecting that person's previously clean criminal record. Judges and prosecutors often treat a first arrest (sometimes called the "first time offender") differently than someone with a more extensive criminal history.
The Madison County District Attorney's Office has various programs to deal with these cases. Prosecutors have tremendous discretion and often make decisions very early in the case. Having an attorney at the earliest stages of the case is particularly important when you have no other criminal record. In certain cases, a Pre-Trial Intervention Program might be available. The program is designed to divert the least serious cases away from the criminal justice system.
Defending First Time Offenders in Alabama
Our Huntsville criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices Of Segal & Segal can help guide you toward your best option when facing charges that might qualify you for pre-trial intervention programs and/or first-time offender programs. When we represent you, we look for the best scenario and help you reach it. Part of that is always to educate you on all your options.
For some, their best bet may be may be fighting the charges in front of a jury, but for others it may be going through Madison County's Pre-Trial Intervention Program. Our experienced defense lawyers will be able to evaluate the likelihood of your eligibility for such programs and serve as your advocate to try to get you into such programs, should you so choose. Call us today at The Law Offices Of Segal & Segal to set up a free consultation to go over your charges and discuss options.
We know the criminal justice system inside and out at The Law Offices Of Segal & Segal. Both Sandra and Andrew Segal have served as prosecutors, and we put that knowledge and experience to work for our clients. We will help you understand your full course of options, whether you live in Huntsville, Madison, Meridianville, Moores Hill, Harvest, Hazel Green, New Hope, Gurley, Triana or anywhere in Madison County.
Legal Information for First Time Offenders in Alabama
- Eligibility Requirements for Madison County First-Time Offenders
- Details of the Huntsville First Time Offender Program
- Serving First Time Offenders in Huntsville
The current Pre-Trial Intervention Program for the Madison County District Attorney's Office was enacted in October 2012 by District Attorney Robert L. Broussard. The program exists to divert people accused of crimes, mostly non-violent, away from prosecution so they are able to avoid prison and keep their criminal record clean.
To be eligible for the program, you cannot be charged with any Class A felony. Class A felonies include murder, first degree rape or sodomy, first degree arson, first degree burglary or first degree robbery. You can also not be accused of a crime where serious bodily injury was involved, such as certain types of assault.
You must admit guilt. While this may seem easy, it has the potential for severe consequences. If you fail to meet the requirements of your program, which could last up to two years, your case will be prosecuted. If you've already admitted guilt, it makes your defense or any kind of negotiations much, much harder.
You must be at least 18 years old. If you are younger, you may qualify for certain juvenile programs.
The District Attorney's Office has ultimate discretion in determining whether or not justice would be served by allowing Huntsville first-time offenders into the program. Even if this offense is your first brush with the law, the District Attorney can still reject you from the program. This means that your Huntsville defense lawyer must present your case in the best possible fashion to the District Attorney's Office if you wish to participate in a pretrial intervention program.
Depending on your charges, the program may last anywhere from about six months to two years. During this time, you will be required to attend counseling sessions and meetings, possibly submit to random drug and alcohol testing, maintain employment, and pay back all restitution to victims, along with any court costs and any child support or other money owed. These are only a few of the possible requirements of the program.
You are also required to bear the full cost of the program, including paying for counseling sessions and pay for an application fee, which can range from $100 to $300. The total cost of the program can range up to $2,080, which is the maximum for the two-year program.
The length of the program depends on your charges and is set by the District Attorney. There are three "general" programs: one lasting 26 weeks, one lasting 52 weeks (one year) and one lasting two years. There are also three specialized programs: a DUI diversion program, lasting 52 weeks, a domestic violence program, lasting 26 weeks, and a sex crime diversion program, which usually lasts two years but may last 26 weeks, depending on the crime.
At the successful conclusion of the program, the District Attorney dismisses the charges against the accused.
If you have been charged with a crime and think you may be eligible for the Pretrial Intervention or Huntsville first-time offender program, you shouldn't look at the program as the easy way out. You must admit guilt and go through a vigorous program that could last up to two years. It may be your best option, but don't decide until you've heard all your choices.
Contact an experienced first time arrest lawyer in Huntsville from The Law Offices Of Segal & Segal. We'll help you determine what choice is best for you. Call (256) 533-4529 or send an online message to set up a free consultation.