Facing first time arrests can be an intimidating experience. Whether you’ve been charged due to a misunderstanding or because you made an honest mistake – the whole process is stressful, hurried, and confusing. Since Texas is notorious for cracking down on crime, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to start protecting your rights.
If you have been arrested and charged with your first offense in Tarrant County or any of the surrounding areas don’t face the harsh punishments of Texas law alone. Call an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer who will protect your rights and use your first-time circumstances as a mitigating factor in your case.
First-Time Arrests Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, Southlake, TX
With thousands of case successes, the legal team at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy reviews each case on an individual basis to determine the best defense strategy for you. They will make every effort to help you achieve a favorable outcome in your case.
Call the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (817)-422-5350 to schedule a consultation for your first-time offender case in Fort Worth, Arlington, Azle, Bedford, Benbrook, Blue Mound, Burleson, Colleyville, Crowley, Dalworthington Gardens, Euless, Everman, Forest Hill, Grapevine, Grand Prairie, Haltom City, Haslet, Hurst, Keller, Kennedale, Lake Worth, Mansfield, Newark, North Richland Hills, Pelican Bay, Richland Hills, River Oaks, Saginaw, Sansom Park, and Southlake or the surrounding areas.
Common First Offenses in Fort Worth
Tarrant County is a vast area with a large, multicultural population. Therefore, there are as many common first-time offenses as there are things to do in the area. Whether you reside in the area or are visiting from the surrounding counties of Denton, Collin, Tarrant, or other counties like Grayson or Van Zandt, you should be aware of the following common first offenses:
- Driving While Intoxicated or DWI
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol
- Public Intoxication
- Possession of Marijuana
- Reckless Driving
- Criminal Mischief
- Domestic Violence
Texas law takes all of these offenses very seriously; however, Tarrant County has several different programs available to first-time offenders. An experienced Fort Worth criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the defense process and find the best defense and/or program for your case.
Options for First-Time Offenders in the Fort Worth
Since the priority of prosecutors and judges is to put proven criminals who are a serious danger to society behind bars, a dedicated Metroplex criminal defense attorney can make a case based on your lack of a prior record and any other mitigating factors. There are several options available for first-time offenders, including:
- Intervention with the prosecution prior to the filing of formal charges that emphasizes this was a one-time mistake
- Review of the case with the prosecution and/or judge to point out inadequacies or flaws as well as file related motions for evidence or case dismissal
- Programs, Services, and Specialty Courts – These are designed by the corrections department to provide education, counseling, and other services in lieu of or in addition to probation and jail time. Your defense attorney can work with the prosecution on negotiating these options
- Plea bargaining – When all other options fail, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can usually use your lack of criminal history and unlikelihood to become a repeat offender to negotiate special recovery programs, probation terms, or deferred adjudication in exchange for a guilty or nolo contendre plea.
Once your negotiations and terms are completed, you may be eligible to have your record sealed or expunged. This may or may not be an automatic process, so consult your lawyer about the specific process for your case.
Tarrant County Specialized Diversion and Intervention Programs
The following are specific diversion and intervention programs you may be eligible for as a first offender depending on your case:
- DWI Court – This court is for residents of Dallas County and the surrounding counties only. This 12-month program involves mandated sobriety through intensive outpatient treatment including individual counseling and the twelve-step recovery program, as well as random tests for alcohol and drug use. Upon completion, the participant’s probation sentence is reduced to one year of supervision.
- Mental Health Court – Available pre-adjudication through the District Attorney’s office and involves 6 months of treatment participation. Completion of the program qualifies the participant for case dismissal.
- PRIDE Court – Designed for misdemeanor prostitution cases, this court involves a 6-9 month program and is for pre-adjudication cases only.
- DIVERT Court – This court is for first-time felony arrests where the client is diagnosed with a substance abuse problem that requires treatment. Two years after a client completes the 12-18 month program, the arrest will be expunged. You or your attorney must contact the court within 90 days of indictment to participate.
- STAC Court and 4C/SAFPF Re-Entry Court – Drug court programs involving 6 months of inpatient treatment and subsequent outpatient programs while on probation. Both promote successful reintegration into society – length depends on your case and which program you are participating in.
- Dual Diagnosis Court – This post-adjudication program is for defendants with both a mental health diagnosis and a substance abuse problem. It is 6-9 months long and involved 90 days of inpatient treatment.
- ATLAS Court – This court is for defendants either pre-adjudication or post-adjudication with a motion to revoke probation who have a mental health diagnosis. It involves 12 months of medication compliance, meeting all probation conditions, and counseling attendance.
Texas First Time Offender Resources
Felony Alcohol Intervention Program (FAIP) – Tarrant County — The Tarrant County Felony Alcohol Intervention Program (FAIP) is a post-adjudication program for the high-risk repeat DWI offender. FAIP is designed to coordinate alcohol abuse intervention with judicial oversight, enhanced supervision, and individual accountability. FAIP provides a consistent and lengthy structure allowing the offender to benefit from the treatment experience. FAIP is the best vehicle within the criminal justice system for expediting the time between an arrest for DWI and entry into treatment. It is designed to divert offenders out of the traditional criminal justice process and into appropriate rehabilitative alternatives.
Mental Health Diversion Program – Tarrant County — The Mental Health Diversion Program (MHDP) is a pre-trial, post-booking specialty court program for participants in the criminal justice system that have a previous mental health history. The program is judicially supervised and the mission is to provide participants the resources and support to attain emotional well-being and a foundation for long-term success. The Mental Health Diversion Program is completed on average between nine months and two years.
Veterans Court Diversion Program – Tarrant County, Texas — The Veterans Court Diversion Program is a diversion program for Justice-Involved Veterans (JIV) who are currently facing prosecution for one or more criminal cases. The program offers offenders a treatment option that is judicially supervised. It is designed to divert JIV out of the traditional criminal justice process and into appropriate rehabilitative alternatives. Once the JIV has been screened, assessed, and approved for participation in the program, he/she will promptly begin a treatment regimen that is specific to his/her needs.
Reaching Independence through Self-Empowerment (RISE) — The mission of the Reaching Independence through Self-Empowerment (RISE) Program is to identify vulnerable women with extensive histories of prostitution or prostitution-related offenses, expedite them through the criminal justice system and help them achieve abstinence from all mood-altering substances, mental stability, permanent housing and educational/work opportunities that provide them with the legal means to maintain a healthy, productive lifestyle. The vision of the RISE program is that every woman reaches her full potential and lives a healthy, productive, drug-free, and non-criminal lifestyle. The RISE program seeks to identify women who have a history of experiencing significant trauma in their past which has contributed to their involvement in the criminal justice system. This involvement commonly results in charges of prostitution, controlled substance violations, and theft. With the consent of an individual’s attorney, the person is contacted by a member of the RISE staff. Program prospects are then evaluated through the use of validated assessment instruments and a clinical interview. The goal is to identify individuals who possess the greatest likelihood of achieving positive lifestyle change through participation in counseling and treatment. If selected, the person is offered admission. If the person chooses to participate, she will enter a plea of guilty and receive a probated or deferred sentence with the requirement that she enter and successfully complete the RISE program. An individual treatment program is designed to meet the individual’s needs. It is the mission of the RISE program is to remove participants from the criminal justice system and restore them to a crime-free, substance abuse-free, and mentally stable lifestyle. It is critical to the mission that the participants desire this change and are willing to make the sacrifice necessary to achieve and sustain it.
Youthful Offender Diversion Alternative (YODA) – Tarrant County — YODA is an alternative to standard pre-trial diversion programs for family assaults. This program provides counseling and case management to youthful offenders aged 17-25, who have been arrested for assault against a non-intimate family member (defined as a blood relative, related by marriage or intimate relationship with another family member). The program is managed and the services are provided by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has specialty training in trauma and abuse. Through counseling and case management, the hope is that solutions and skills development will address the contributing factors and circumstances that led to the arrest incident. Through case management services in collaboration with outside agencies, defendants are given an opportunity to stabilize their lives and gain access to resources that can encourage further development.
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for First-Time Arrests | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Texas law is harsh on criminal offenses, even if you are a first offender. The good news is that many counties like Dallas County have several options available for people just like you.
If you have been charged with a first-time criminal offense in Tarrant County or any of the surrounding areas, call the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy or contact us online today at (817)-422-5350.