Here in Chapel Hill, NC first time offenders make up a large portion of criminal arrests. These first offenses are usually misdemeanor drug or alcohol charges but can also be more serious felonies.
Hopefully you never see yourself in this situation – facing criminal charges because of a mistake you made. You’ve certainly never been arrested before, and you never thought about what might happen if caught. You may think while being put into handcuffs for your first time, I wonder if they will go easy on me since it’s my first time? Let’s find out what your options are should you find yourself in this unfortunate, yet common situation.
What Happens To First Time Offenders In Chapel Hill, NC?
If you are facing Criminal charges for the first time in Chapel Hill or Durham NC it’s important that you find an attorney who has experience with the justice system in Orange and Durham county.
North Carolina uses a “structured sentencing” system in which first-time offenders are sentenced to lesser sentences than those who have been previous offenders. Although, even for first-time offenders, there is jail time and a criminal record. There are some programs for first time offenders to avoid jail time and even have their records clear. While every situation is different, the Law Office of Matthew Charles Suczynski has helped hundreds of people with first time offender cases in the local area. If you are currently facing your first criminal charge you need the right attorney on your side to be sure you are taking advantage of every possible avenue for a first offense.
The Conditional Discharge 90/96 Program For Drug Offenses
The 90-96 program allows for a conditional discharge of select types of drug offenses in North Carolina after finishing a drug education class while on probation. The class costs around $200 and under NCGS 90-96(a) and NCGS 90-96(a1), completion of the conditions set by the Judge (which can vary) will allow a dismissal of the eligible drug charges. This program, created for all of North Carolina, gives defendants the ability to have misdemeanor and even felony drug related charges dismissed and eventually expunged from their permanent record.
Charges which qualify for conditional discharge under 90-96 are:
- Possession of drug paraphernalia.
- All misdemeanor controlled substance charges.
- Felony simple possession of any controlled substance charges.
The main benefit of the 90-96 program here in North Carolina is that eligible participants can avoid jail time. There is one main disadvantage to this program, in that you still have to be found guilty of or plead guilty to a drug charge. Usually, once the case is dismissed you may be able to have the conviction expunged from your permanent record. However this process could about a year to complete and will be on your record until expulsion.
Are There Felony Offender Programs In Chapel Hill, NC?
Yes! If you are facing your first felony and are looking at jail time, you may be eligible for the North Carolina Felony Drug Diversion Program. This program provides first time felony offenders the ability to participate in community service programs, drug rehabilitation and expulsion of the charge from your record. You can have no prior felony convictions on your record as well as no moral turpitude type misdemeanor related offenses. You can still be eligible for the program though if you have a misdemeanor related alcohol offense such as a DWI or possession underage. These stipulations make this program great for many people who are facing their first felony for charges that also include:
- Property charges like breaking and entering
- Larceny (Non-residential)
This program requires participants to accrue 225 hours of community service (min 18 per month,) remain in school or work and stay in contact with a local Community Service Coordinator. You will also be required to take a prison tour and if you fail to live up to any of these requirements or are charged with a new felony in the time of the program, you may end up in jail. If you think you may be eligible for this program the Law Office of Matthew Charles Suczynski can help, contact us today for a free consultation on your case.
Why Should I Choose the Law Office of Matthew Charles Suczynski
Over the years Matthew has defended hundreds of First Time Offender cases both in District and Superior Courts throughout the state. As such, Matthew has the skill set and experience necessary to handle your criminal defense case. Give the Law Office of Matthew Charles Suczynski, PLLC a call today to discuss your case at (919) 619-3242 or visit our Criminal Defense page for more information.
Looking For a Criminal Defense Lawyer?If you’ve been charged with a crime, then it’s vital to find an attorney who will do everything in his power to test the State’s case and protect your rights. We proudly service Durham & Orange County; as well as the surrounding Triangle. Contact Your Local Chapel Hill & Durham Attorneys For A Free Consultation
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