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First Time Offender 

James Coulter First Offense Attorney

People with no prior criminal history can be tremendously confused about what happens after they are arrested for the first time. While the lack of a criminal record can certainly be advantageous in plea bargaining, it does not automatically result in charges against an alleged offender being reduced or dismissed.

A Florida resident who was arrested in Melbourne needs to understand that there are several state programs that are favorable alternatives to prison sentences. Additionally, visitors from out of state should also recognize that there can be a multitude of consequences to leaving Florida without resolving their criminal cases.

Melbourne and Palm Bay Area First Time Arrest Lawyer

If you were arrested in Brevard County or anywhere else in Florida, and it is your first time facing criminal charges, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of James B. Coulter help clients all throughout the greater the greater Melbourne area as well as throughout all of Brevard County, Central Florida and the Space Coast, including communities like Titusville, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Palm Shores, Melbourne Beach, Merritt Island, Indian Harbour Beach, Cape Canaveral, and Palm Bay.

James Coulter is a former Assistant State Attorney, a trial attorney, and an adjunct professor or criminal law. He can develop the strongest legal defense for you when you call (321) 586-9944 to set up a free, confidential consultation.

Brevard Florida First Time Offender Information Center

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Common First Time Offender Criminal Charges in Brevard County and throughout Florida

Any violation of the law can be a person’s first offense. Some of the most frequent charges that first-time offenders face include:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI) — First DUI, DUI Test Refusal, Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) – DUI, DUI with Serious Bodily Injury, DUI Manslaughter, DUI with Property Damage, Underage DUI, or Commercial DUI
  • Domestic Violence — Domestic Assault/Battery, Domestic Battery by Strangulation, Domestic Battery on a Pregnant Female, Child Abuse / Neglect, Stalking, or Violation of a Protective Order
  • Drug Charges — Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Sell, Drug Manufacturing, Paraphernalia Charges, Prescription Drug Crimes, or State Drug Trafficking
  • Marijuana Defense — Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession, Felony Marijuana Possession, Marijuana Distribution, Marijuana Cultivation, or Trafficking in Marijuana
  • Violent Offenses — Assault, Battery, Aggravated Assault / Battery, Robbery, Carjacking, or Kidnapping / False Imprisonment
  • Property Crimes / Theft — Petit Theft, Grand Theft, Retail Theft, Dealing in Stolen Goods, Burglary, Auto Theft / Burglary of a Conveyance, Criminal Trespass, Criminal Mischief, or Arson
  • Financial Crimes — Credit Card Fraud, Insurance Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, or Identity Theft
  • Sex-Related Offenses — Sexual Battery, Sexual Activity with Minors, Lewd and Lascivious Offenses, Unnatural and Lascivious Act, Exposure of Sexual Organs, Child Pornography Charges
  • Obstructing Justice — Resisting an Officer Without Violence (ROWOV), Resisting an Officer With Violence, or Aiding Escape
  • Weapons and Firearms Charges — Firearm Possession by Felon, Improper Exhibition of Firearm, or Carrying a Concealed Weapon
  • Traffic Offenses — Driving While License Suspended, Reckless Driving, Fleeing and Eluding, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Open Container, or Speeding
  • Alcohol Crimes — Breach of Peace, Minor in Possession, Fake ID Charges, Selling Alcohol to Minors, or Allowing Minors to Consume Alcohol

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Ways First Time Offenders Avoid Jail Time in Brevard County and throughout Florida

After a period of concerns about prison overcrowding, the state of Florida now generally prefers probation or other alternatives to incarceration for many nonviolent offenders who are not a threat to society. A person who has been charged with a crime for the first time can usually be eligible for one of the following case resolutions that do not involve a jail sentence:

  • Civil Citation Program — Brevard County is one of the 52 counties that have implemented the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) civil citation initiative. Under Florida Statute § 958.12, a law enforcement officer may issue a civil citation to an alleged juvenile offender suspected of a first-time misdemeanor offense, and the Juvenile  Assessment Center (JAC) may assign the alleged juvenile offender to perform community service or participate in intervention services.
  • Drug Courts — The Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida as well as the 18th Judicial Circuit Courts utilizes multiple drug courts that emphasize rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration. Some of these types of courts in Brevard County include Adult Dependency Drug Court, Adult Criminal Drug Court, and Juvenile Drug Court programs.
  • Plea Bargain — A lawyer can negotiate with a prosecutor for a significant reduction in penalties through probation, deferred adjudication, or house arrest.
  • Veterans Courts — Brevard County, as well as Seminole County, have established special courts to help United States military veterans who may be dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health issues after returning from combat. Instead of imprisonment, these courts typically use treatment programs to reduce the likelihood of recidivism.
  • Youthful Offender Program — Under Florida Statute § 958.04, a court may place an alleged youthful offender facing felony charges under supervision on probation or in a community control program for up to six years instead of pursuing criminal prosecution.

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Melbourne Tourists Accused of First Time Criminal Offenses

It is a mistake for anybody to assume that an arrest in Brevard County is no big deal because he or she lives in a different area of Florida or another state. Even if you have no criminal record of any kind in any state, you still need to take any Melbourne area criminal charges very seriously.

Regardless of where you might actually live, your case will still proceed in Florida courts and you risk having a warrant issued for your arrest if you fail to make any required court appearances. It is in your best interest to contact a Melbourne Florida criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible so that attorney can represent you during any court dates and obtain a favorable resolution to your case.

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Resources for Florida First Time Offenders

City of Melbourne Police Department — This website has news releases, bureau and division information, and answers to frequently asked questions. You can also view a crime reports map, see a recent list of actively dispatched calls for service and learn more about various community programs.

650 N. Apollo Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32935
(321) 608-6731

Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Courts — Information about court divisions, programs, and courthouse locations can be found on this website. There is also an overview of security, news, and information about court services.

Brevard County
Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Justice Center
Viera Florida 32940
(321) 633-2171

Brevard County Clerk of Courts — This website provides information for paying fines in criminal cases, request copies of court records, and learn more about seal and expungement rules. There are also links to family, juvenile, and traffic division cases.

51 South Nieman Avenue
Melbourne, Florida 32901
(321) 637-5413

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Find A First Time Offender Lawyer in Melbourne

Were you in Brevard County when you were arrested for the very first time? You will want to immediately seek the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney so you can avoid serious consequences.

The Law Offices of James B. Coulter aggressively defends  Melbourne residents as well tourists and other visitors to the area who were charged with criminal offenses during their stays. Let our firm review your case by calling (321) 586-9944 right now to take advantage of a free legal consultation.   

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Our Office Location
Law Offices of James B. Coulter
1402 Highway A1A, Ste A Satellite Beach , FL 32937
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Brevard County Bar Association

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The information provided on this website is for general information purposes only. The legal information you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a criminal defense lawyer in Orlando, FL, for advice regarding your own individual situation.
We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us, however, does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until after an attorney-client relationship has been established.