Learn If You Are Eligible For A First Offender Program

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, and this is a first offense, one of several "First Offender Diversionary Programs" may be applicable.

Connecticut offers the opportunity for persons being charged with certain crimes for the first time to participate in diversionary programs in order to avoid a criminal conviction and to keep their record "clean." In many cases, even the fact of an arrest can be erased upon successful completion of the program. The client is not required to plead guilty, but merely agrees to accept the remedial conditions imposed by the court.

The assistance of an experienced lawyer can ensure that the client is properly qualified and placed in such a program. The expertise of attorney Elliot R. Warren in the area of first offender programs, coupled with his exceptional personalized advice and service, provided on a cost-effective basis, make him invaluable to any client in a first-offender situation.

There are a number of diversionary programs available for first offenders. The most common ones are:

Accelerated Rehabilitation Program

Persons charged for the first time with most relatively minor offenses are entitled to engage in this diversionary program. Upon an application in which the attorney demonstrates that the client is not likely to offend again and that the offense committed is not of a serious nature, the client may be granted a period of probation, which may include community service and restitution for the damage he or she caused. With the guidance of an experienced lawyer, even charges of a more serious nature may qualify if "good cause" is demonstrated. If the program is successfully completed, the case is dismissed and the arrest record is erased.

Drug Education Program

Persons charged for the first time with possession of small amounts of drugs or drug utilizing instruments can qualify for this diversionary program. The client will agree to attend drug education classes and perform some community service. If the requirements are met, the case is dismissed and the arrest record is erased.

Alcohol Education Program

Persons who are charged with driving under the influence for the first time can qualify, provided that a serious accident has not occurred. The client will agree to attend classes related to drinking issues and attend a class concerning "victim impact" from auto accidents caused by drunk drivers. If successfully completed, the case is dismissed and the arrest record is erased. Entry in this program also reduces the one-year license suspension mandated if there is a conviction to between three and six months, and also allows eligibility for a special driving permit that will allow travel to work.

Family Violence Education Program

Persons charged with disorderly conduct, simple assault and other crimes related to minor incidents with family members, close friends and "significant others" can qualify for this program. If accepted, the client is enrolled in anger management classes. Sometimes, private counseling is allowed in place of the anger management classes. Dismissal and erasure follow successful completion of the requirements.