Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

How Can I Qualify as a First Offender in Georgia?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Sep 09, 2018 | 0 Comments

The Georgia First Offender Act is complicated and is best explained by a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer. I will do my best to break down the law and it's details in today's post.

The Georgia First Offender Act

The Georgia Code defines the Georgia First Offender Act as:

Where a defendant has not been previously convicted of a felony, the court may, upon a verdict or plea of guilty or nolo contendere, and before adjudication of guilt, without entering a judgment of guilty and with the consent of the defendant, defer future proceedings and place the defendant on probation or sentence the defendant to a term of confinement. O.C.G.A. §42-8-60.

However, there are certain requirements that a defendant must meet in order to qualify to use this option. The requirements include:

  • You must not have been convicted of a felony in not just Georgia, but in any state.
  • You cannot have already been sentenced as a first offender.
  • The crime in which you are charged must not be a serious violent felony, serious sexual offense, DUI, or related to child pornography. (This includes but is not limited to: DUI in Georgia, Rape in Georgia, Armed Robbery in Georgia, etc.)

Practice Note

The semantics of the Georgia First Offender can be difficult to understand. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Georgia, contact us today.

As Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys, we will let you know if you are eligible for the program and can help explore all of your options. 

It is also important for me to note that the defendant must successfully complete all terms of the program and cannot commit a new crime during the process. If this is done, then the crime will be sealed from their official criminal history. However, remember that lawyers, law enforcement, judges, and police will always be able to see the charge.

But, if the defendant is arrested for another crime while still on first offender probation, their status from first offender will be changed to a conviction.

Your defense starts today, contact us now. There may be several different Georgia Criminal Defenses that can apply to your case.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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