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There were 59,386 first-time offenders entered into the Texas prison systems in 2014 alone. If you are lucky, being charged with a crime for the first time is merely upsetting, embarrassing, and inconvenient. If you are unlucky, it can mean the loss of your career, home, and even your family.
That is only the beginning in a cascading series of events affected by a first time offense, however. A criminal record, no matter how minor, can contribute to fewer job offers, less pay, fewer choices in housing and schooling, and even how much a bank will loan you. Whether you want to start a business, buy a car, or work at a decent job, the stigma that follows you from a first offense is detrimental-but possibly avoidable if you contact an Austin first time offender lawyer from Hines & Holub.
First Offense, Forever Consequences
If your first offense is not handled properly, even if only a misdemeanor, you could face increasingly heavier sentencing for future missteps. Many types of cases are enhanced (or more serious) based on whether you have previously done the same thing before. You may also lose custody of your children, foster children, and ability to adopt in the future. Depending on your charge, even for the first offense, you could receive jail time or even be branded a registered sex offender.
If you are an immigrant, the consequences can be devastating, as you could lose your immigration status and face deportation. Deportation involving you-but not the rest of your family-can be emotional to say the least. If you are in the US on a work or school visa, the government could decide not to renew your status and leave you with no option but to leave the country.
Not only could being convicted of a first offense result in lost job opportunities, but it can also preclude you from earning professional licenses or receiving federal and state assistance for your family. All of these economic problems can be further compounded by the loss of your drivers license. You could even lose your Second Amendment right to possess firearms.
What Can You Do?
Modern approaches to first time offenders are becoming increasingly focused on discouraging repeat offenses. You may be able to avoid conviction or harsh punishment by taking part in a program designed to keep you out of the criminal justice system over the long term. Depending on the type of case, those options could include court diversion, a deferral of some sort, or a specialized court docket to address the specific needs of your situation.
First time offenders always have then best chance for receiving reduced or lenient sentencing. If your lawyer plays the right cards, your charges could even be fully dismissed. It is very important that you are fully informed of the options and programs available in your county for first offenders. It is difficult to know and understand the many options on your own, much less know which programs you may be qualified for. Our attorneys stay on top of current local legal options, and can explain the best way to handle your first offense. In addition, we always handle your case with an eye toward the future. Our goal is always to try and resolve cases in a way that leaves the entire record eligible for expunction when the time comes. Planning now makes for the best possible result for your future.
If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, your best option is a strong defense developed by an Austin first time offender lawyer from our firm. We can help you understand the possible consequences you face and help you fight your charges in court.
Free Consultation with an Austin First Time Offender Attorney
No matter how large or small your first time offense is, it is in your best interest to fight as hard as you can for your future. If you have gotten to this point in life without a criminal record then you have even more incentive to keep it clear. Our first time offender lawyers will work for you to plan for your defense, and save far more than just your reputation.
Call our on-call attorney now to discuss your case now.
No matter how complex your charges may seem, you can have peace of mind knowing our legal team is behind you. You aren’t in this battle alone. Get our Austin criminal attorneys on your side today.