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Alabama: What to do if you are a first-time offender?

Alabama has, like many other states, alternative programs for first-time offenders. These programs present an alternative to traditional prosecution and are meant as a different form of rehabilitation. Pretrial Diversion Programs (PTD) are when a defendant knowledgeable agrees to court-ordered impositions of behavior and conduct for a defined period of time. If the defendant completes this kind of program then the court agrees to dismiss, reduce, or alleviate the defendant’s charges.  

There are instances when accepting a pretrial diversion program is more beneficial than the traditional route of prosecution. Alabama has also instituted many forms of pretrial diversion and expanded the crimes that can be mitigated through the successful completion of one of the PTD Programs. 

First-time offender programs in Alabama

Most Alabama counties have what is known as a Pretrial Intervention Program along with other PTD’s. Pretrial Intervention (PTI) Programs are designed as alternatives for a list of varied crimes. They are designed as a way to help first-time offenders, young, and otherwise harmless people who do not have a serious criminal record or will not likely be continuing criminal activities. It is essentially a “second-chance” for many individuals. 

Some crimes that can qualify for these programs are traffic offenses, DUIs with a BAC of less than .15, property offenses, non-violent offenses, some drug offenses, and some misdemeanors. Of course, there are many crimes that do not fall under the eligibility of a PTI Program. For example, DUI where there was a passenger under 14 or where there was a victim under 14, are excluded, as are all capital offenses. 

What happens if accepted into Pretrial Intervention in Alabama?

If the court accepts the defendant’s application into a PTI then that defendant waives their right to a speedy trial, they must plead guilty, they must agree to pay restitution to any victims as well as pay certain fines and fees associated with the application, they also agree to the District Attorney’s conditions of their program. Most programs include certain levels of community service as well as certain counseling courses if necessary. Drug and alcohol tests can be imposed as well. 

Pretrial Intervention Programs in Alabama can be a better option than trial for a few reasons. Even if the defendant considers themselves not guilty, going to trial does not guarantee that opinion will be upheld, trials can be tricky and a guilty verdict could be handed down. Pretrial intervention programs can guarantee a dismissal of charges. This can be extremely beneficial to someone with a clean or relatively clean record. Lastly, PTI Programs can be quicker than traditional prosecution.

First-Time Offender Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you want further information about Alabama First-Time Offender Programs, contact the experienced legal team at LaPlante, Merritt, Faulkner, Wilson & Clay, LLC today.

We will talk you through your options and advise you of the best course of action based on your individual circumstances.

Call us at (256) 236-7354 to schedule a consultation and learn more about bankruptcy and how it can affect your life

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