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3 advantages first-time offenders can benefit from

Whether it be robbery, drug possession, battery or any other illegal activity, you should never take criminal charges lightly. This is especially true given the fact that a conviction will have serious consequences on your life. If you are a first-time offender charged with a crime, there are several advantages you may have that could help you get your life back on track.

According to ABC News, new legislation in Louisiana reduces sentencing for nonviolent offenders—and this can benefit many first-time offenders, too. Being charged with a crime for the first time is an opportunity to nip the problem in the bud and avoid dealing with the lifelong consequences of a conviction. 

1. Leniency in charges and court

It is not uncommon for first-time offenders to benefit from leniency in the charges they face. You should never assume that this will be the case, though—while many judges err towards lighter treatment for those with no prior offenses, many give no such affordances. Investing in a legal representative can help you prepare for either situation.

2. Potential to keep record clean

If you are a first-time offender charged with a crime, you should fight against a conviction vigilantly. Facing charges is serious enough, but you can mitigate the damage to your life by avoiding conviction. If you do so, you can keep your criminal record clean, and you will not have to worry about the impact a record would have on your employment or housing opportunities.

3. Possible opportunity to divert

Some jurisdictions have diversion programs in place that allow for rehabilitation rather than a conviction for first-time offenders. In such cases, the District Attorney will generally offer a plea deal involving a commitment to the program as well as probation or another form of monitoring. Such options might not always be offered, depending on the charges, but a lawyer may be able to advocate for diversion if it is available. 

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