First Offender Act Georgia: The GA First Offender Act
The Georgia First Offenders Act was created in 1968 to provide individuals who have committed a crime with an opportunity to redeem themselves without the burden of a criminal conviction. The first offender program Georgia is referred to as Georgia's "1st offender Act," or the "second chance law."
First offender probation violation Georgia. The "2nd chance" language in GA pertains to this law since it allows those who have made prior misdemeanor criminal law mistakes to learn from it and move forward with their lives without the stigma of a felony criminal record. Not all states have a first offender law like Georgia's.
But only if the offender successfully completes the full program, including the probation period, will she or he get the records sealed under our State's 1st offender act rules. Successful completion will result in Georgia records having no adjudication of guilt or indicate having been convicted of a felony.
The First Offender Act GA felony. The First Offenders Act in the Peach State allows individuals who have not previously been convicted of most types of felony charges to plead guilty or nolo contendere without being convicted. This can include first-time white-collar offenders and some of Georgia's non-violent sex offender laws.
This mechanism for masking convictions on State records may provide both a benefit to society and a way for the offender to protect their privacy. But this is not a 1st time violent offender act since many of the more heinous violent crimes are blocked from this statutory program (read answer 7 below).
When facing a 1st Georgia Criminal Charge. The First Offenders Act under O.C.G.A. 42-6-80 (a) allows those who are facing their first offense to plead guilty or (if the Court accepts it) "no contest" (nolo contendere) without being convicted.
Georgia First Offender Act eligibility. Georgia First Offender Act Rules have been altered several times. The most recent amendments to criminal justice came during Governor Nathan Deal's Administration (2010-2018). These Legislative changes made more people eligible for first offender treatment.
Think of the popular board game "Monopoly," and the "Get Out of Jail Free" card. You may draw that card out of the stack and hold the card until it is needed. However, you can only use it once, and have also complied with all terms of probation set by the sentencing judge.
How can I learn more about the First Offenders Program GA? For some defendants (on some types of crimes or for clients with prior legal histories) the plea deals will involve a jail sentence (for some type of confinement), without that person entering a guilty verdict. This could be at RSAT or a probation detention center.
In the last decade, laws were created to benefit those facing criminal charges for the first time. In 2015, a law was passed requiring those charged with a crime to be told by their criminal law attorney (or by the court) if they are eligible for first-time offender status (OCGA 42 8 61).
In 2016, under O.C.G.A. Section 42-8-65, judges were given the power to limit visibility of the court records of first-time offenders at the time of sentencing instead of waiting until their sentence was served. In addition, the law permitted the Judge to seal both court and jail documents for those who had successfully fulfilled their first-time offender sentence (under OCGA Section 42-8-62.1).
Getting Records Sealed under First Offender GA Act
When a person is sentenced, either to probation or confinement, the clerk of court must send the records to the Georgia Crime Information Center. If the sentenced individual desires to limit public access to their details, the court will take into consideration the public's interests and the potential for harm to the offender's privacy when deciding whether or not to restrict the records from public access.
The Judge may agree to this type of plea, and (with the consent of the accused person), place the person on probation. The court may then decide to either place that accused person on probation or sentence her or him to a term of confinement, with the agreement of the defendant.
7 Frequently Asked Questions about a Georgia 1st Offender Plea
Many callers to our office want to know about Georgia first offender act probation eligibility. Below, this article covers those rules and guidelines.
- Does the first offender law Georgia only apply to a person' first criminal conviction? Not necessarily. For example, on a 1st offense shoplifting in GA simple misdemeanor charge, it would be unwise the "waste" the 1st offender disposition for such a minor crime. The same advice would apply to a Georgia 1st time offender marijuana, for possessing under an ounce of weed or other controlled substance.
- Can a first offender Georgia be used on a violent felony? Possibly, in some first-time offenders' cases. Some Georgia statutes, however, bar very serious violent crimes against other from using the 1st time offender act, though. See answer 7 below.
- Can a 1st time drug offense Georgia felony be handled via the felony first offense statute? Yes, drug charges are often covered, (e.g., for schedule II drug charges).
- Can I use my first offender for a probation violation? No. The statute applies to current crimes.
- What happens after a 1st offender's plea is over? The assigned judge orders the sealing of the case's records by the Clerk of that County Superior Court.
- Do 1st time offenders spend the whole amount of jail time? Serving all the years in jail would a fairly rare sentencing, but (for some) facing first offender felony Georgia, but not their first criminal conviction, some jail component may be part of the person's sentencing. So, some time in custody can be ordered for certain offenders, followed by a 1st time offender probation period.
- What types of crimes are blocked from use of the felon first offender act? DUI is one, even if a first offense DUI misdemeanor. Certain violent acts toward law enforcement officer that resulted in an injury to a police officer are not eligible, either. A list of serious violent felonies listed below are not allowed:
Free Lawyer Consultation for Discussing Possible Plea Deals for First Time Offenders
Our firm's attorneys offer FREE consultation lawyer meetings, to go over the details of your case, and your potential eligibility for use of this special Georgia law. At that time, our award-winning Atlanta criminal lawyer team member can also tell you about our legal fee payment plans.
Not all states have a similar first offender statute. In addition, many clients who seek to hire us have NO INTEREST in a guilty plea, even if with a 1st offender being offered.
Rather than have another sleepless night, why not call us now? Dial 404-567-5515, and you can call 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.