How the court system is more lenient to first-time offenders

How the court system is more lenient to first-time offenders 1

No matter what, getting arrested and going through the bond process and court hearings is a really stressful experience but if this happens to be a defendant’s first time with any type of run0in with the law, judges can tend to offer some understanding and leniency providing that the charges aren’t too severe. To explain further, here is a quick overview of the benefits of being a first time offender and opposed to having a previous record.

Better chance of personal recognizance

Personal recognizance is probably the most hoped-for outcome after an arrest but is usually only available for misdemeanor offenses and first-time offenders. What it means is that instead of paying a cash bond or surety bond to be released, the judge allows the defendant to basically sign a contract promising that they will show up to their court hearing but no bond fees will need to be paid. This is obviously ideal since it saves the defendant a significant amount of money.

Less Expensive Bond Costs

In the case that personal recognizance is not an option, the next option and most common would be bond. Bond is when a judge looks at a defendant’s past record, current charges as well as a few other factors and decides a bond cost in order to negotiate release while awaiting trial. Because past criminal record is taken into account, not having one often makes the defendant more favorable to a lesser bond price. Of course even with first-time offenders if the charges are violent in nature of the judge feels that the defendant is a danger to themselves or society no bond will be offered at all but for the majority of cases it should.

More likely to get probation over Jail

And one last major benefit of being only a first time offender is leniency in sentencing. If the charges are only minor misdemeanors or even lesser felonies with non-violent issues then it is way more probable that the judge will elect to go with probation over actual jail time. This is for a number of reasons including overcrowding but also there just tend to be more leniency when the defendant has never been in trouble before.

In conclusion, all arrests are stressful and scary but if this is your first time being arrested and the crime committed isn’t extremely serious than more often than not the judge will take that into account and show some leniency.


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