gavel between handcuffs

What is Georgia’s First Offender Act?

Georgia’s First Offender Act, sometimes called the Second Chance law, offers some degree of leniency to those convicted of criminal charges for the first time. The Lerch Law Firm is here to discuss what this act does and who might fit the criteria required to utilize it.

About the First Offender Act in Georgia

Georgia’s First Offender Act allows first-time criminal offenders to avoid a conviction on their record by instead completing certain requirements. Typically, this is a period of incarceration and/or probation. Once the penalty has been successfully completed, the defendant will not have a conviction on their record.

Who Can Utilize the First Offender Act?

Under this act, defendants who are found guilty or plead nolo contendere can then request to use the First Offenders plea. It can be used for a misdemeanor or felony offense. However, if it is used for a misdemeanor, it cannot later be used for a felony. Defendants can only use this act once.

Additionally, it is not automatic. Defendants facing their first criminal conviction need to know that the First Offender Act will not automatically be applied to their case. It must specifically be requested.

Who Can’t Utilize the First Offender Act?

Many misdemeanor and felony cases are eligible for the First Offender plea. However, those who do not qualify are those who plead guilty or nolo contendere for:

  • DUI
  • Violent felonies
  • Sex crimes
  • Child pornography

Additionally, those who have already been convicted of a felony in another state are ineligible to use First Offender in Georgia.

First Time Criminal Charge Defense in Savannah

Are you facing misdemeanor or felony charges for the first time? The Lerch Law Firm knows just how stressful that situation can be, and we are happy to help our clients obtain positive case outcomes after a first offense. Even if your case ultimately moves to sentencing, we can help you utilize the First Offender Act to prevent a conviction from appearing on your record. Learn more about how our defense team can support and protect you– call us at (912) 417-5008.