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First-Time Offenders & The Criminal Justice System

One of the most difficult and most rewarding parts of being a criminal defense attorney is representing first-time offenders. When a first-time offender gets into trouble with the law it’s a traumatic and daunting experience that can have severe repercussions for the remainder of their lives.

Luckily, there are often multiple directions we can take to ensure those repercussions are limited to a short time and not something that can affect them down the road. A lawyer representing first-time offenders should be able to both explain and guide their clients through the legal process from arrest to the conclusion of their case.

It is important for a first-time offender to be represented by an attorney because they often are unaware how to navigate the criminal judicial system. This takes the shape in surrendering to an investigator, securing a reduced bond, securing a release from jail, attending a preliminary hearing, or even whether to enter a plea of guilty or not.

Someone that has never been arrested is often worried about “how much jail time will I do.” In reality, more often than not the biggest concern is not the amount of jail time, rather how much will this arrest affect them in 5, 10, or 15 years.

A young person might not realize it at the time of arrest but in 10 years they might want to apply for a professional license and that arrest can and often does affect their chances in getting that license. As a McAllen criminal defense attorney, I have had the privilege of representing first-time offenders that are in there 50s and 60s. These types of clients have a different outlook on the world and have different consequences they might face today.

Older clients typically have employers that have specific requirements about reporting arrests or pending cases. It is essential that first-time offenders of all ages seek legal advice as quickly as possible. A job often requires one to self-report any contact with law enforcement. Failing to do so often leads to more issues than if one self-reported in the first place. Again, it is important that all first-time offenders seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

Lastly, first-time offenders are typically the best candidates to get a case dismissed. District Attorney’s across Texas do not want to ruin someone’s lives for a mistake. They most likely will require the accused to jump through some hoops (i.e. Drug Tests, Offender Classes, Fines, Community Service hours) to earn a dismissal.

As I often tell my clients a “dismissal is something we have to sometimes work for.” In most cases, a dismissal is not given but earned through the hard work of a client. However, once you receive that letter of dismissal it is one of the most rewarding experiences for any attorney.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in McAllen, TX, contact The Christopher P. Cavazos Law Firm, PLLC today at (956) 290-8911 and request a free consultation.

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