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.