First Time Offenders

First Time OffendersMemorandum Dismissal ProgramMisdemeaner DWI CourtFelony Divert Court

Getting arrested for the first time and being charged with a criminal offense is a frightening experience that leads to stress and anxiety. I encourage you to contact me quickly after being arrested. I will ease your fears and concerns by telling you exactly what to expect. In addition, I will begin to take steps immediately to protect your rights which can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of your case.

I pride myself on taking whatever time is necessary to meet with you, answer your questions, explain how the law applies to your case, and assess the evidence to determine your best possible defense strategies. I recognize that you are not familiar with the criminal justice process. The more you understand, the less intimidating the process is.

Dallas County has several programs such as the Memo Dismissal Program and the Felony Divert Court to keep first time offenders out of the criminal justice process. Contact me and we can discuss each of these programs in greater detail and whether they might be the right choice for you.

If this is your first arrest as an adult, you may qualify for the memorandum dismissal program. The program results in your case being dismissed without entering a plea, being placed on probation, or ever stepping foot in a courtroom.

The common qualifying offenses are as follows:

• Burglary of a Motor Vehicle
• Possession of Marijuana
• Theft
• Trespass

Other offenses can qualify and are determined on a case-by-case basis.

The requirements of the program differ according to the charge, but generally include completion of a class and community service hours, payment of $620 to the State, and two clean drug tests if the offense is drug related.

Once the program is successfully completed, your charges are dismissed.

You may be eligible for the misdemeanor DWI court if:

• DWI 1st with breath or blood test of .15 or higher
• DWI with an accident
• DWI 2nd
• Multiple pending DWI charges

The program provides an opportunity for persons who have serious problems with alcohol to obtain treatment on the misdemeanor level. The participants are supervised for 12 months under traditional community supervision with an intensive outpatient treatment component. The standards are rigorous, but for those who are willing to maintain sobriety, the benefits are a shorter supervision period, possible dismissal of charges, and obtaining an occupational license when they would otherwise not qualify.

If this is your first time being arrested for a felony, and you were arrested for a state jail or third degree felony drug charge, you may qualify for DIVERT court. The program is 12-18 months in length and requires that you have a substance abuse problem that requires treatment. Treatment can be either in-patient or out-patient.

Two years after a participant completes the program, their case will be expunged from their criminal history as long as there have been no new arrests.

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