Traffic Arrests and First Offenders

Wake County – like many counties in North Carolina – offers deferred prosecution programs to people who are facing their first criminal charge. These programs – sometimes called First Offenders programs or deferral agreements – require the defendant to admit guilt. The written admission of guilt is held in a file until the person successfully completes the program.

First Offender programs can be excellent ways to resolve a criminal charge in North Carolina, where they are offered. They place control back in the hands of the defendant. If the defendant – our client! – successfully completes the required elements of the program – usually 75 hours of community service, restitution (if anything was stolen or damaged) and staying out of trouble during the program – then the original charge will be dismissed, and an expungement is usually available if otherwise permitted by law.

However, in Wake County, a First Offender program may not be offered if the origination of the criminal charge stems from a traffic offense. If, for instance, a car is stopped for careless and reckless driving, and upon subsequent inspection, misdemeanor quantities of drugs are found, then the person may not be eligible for a First Offender program.

Certainly you should consult with an experienced lawyer before abandoning hope of a First Offender resolution in your matter.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.