For anyone who has been arrested and charged with a first-time offense, there is always a lot of fear and anxiety involved. You don't know what will happen, and may even not know what could happen. You may be uncertain of your rights, or unclear about the charges. Being arrested for a first offense is a nerve-wracking experience, regardless of the circumstances behind it.
While judges are often more lenient with first-time offenders, in nearly every case it will be in your best interest to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney and possibly have a lawyer who can represent you in court.
Common types of first offenses
There are several types of crime people may be arrested for. The most common first offense crimes fall under these categories:
DUI (Driving Under the Influence): DUIs are not like traffic violations. They are considered a crime, and if you're pulled over with reasonable cause, the officer may arrest you and charge you with DUI.
Theft: There are several types of theft, and all of them are crimes. The most common first offense theft categories are shoplifting and breaking and entering (B&E).
Assault: Physical confrontations with another person can lead to an arrest. You may be charged with varying degrees of assault or battery, depending on the severity of any injuries that may have occurred.
Disorderly conduct / public intoxication: In the state of California, public intoxication is considered a form of disorderly conduct. Other types of behavior in this category, which are charged as misdemeanors, include engaging in lewd conduct, loitering, public begging (for money) and prostitution.
How a lawyer can help you
Different crimes carry different possibilities for fines and jail sentences. While these penalties are often lighter for a first offense, they can still have serious repercussions for your day-to-day life.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you decide the best way for you to deal with the charges against you, such as what plea you should enter in court and whether you should fight the charges. Criminal defense lawyers can also represent you in court, especially for more serious crimes with potentially stiff penalties.
Vitaly Sigal, a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, delivers aggressive defense representation for people who have been charged with various crimes, including first offenses. To discuss the details of your case with Mr. Sigal, contact our office today.