First-Time Offenders

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 20,000 criminal cases and consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s Best Criminal Defense Firms. We treat our clients like family with a non-judgmental approach. Knowledge is power in any situation. We are here to help educate you about your circumstances. Use our resources below to contact us and learn how we can help you.

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First-Time Offenders In Cincinnati Ohio

Being arrested is usually a frightening experience, especially the first time you are arrested. Whether the arrest is due to a misunderstanding or an honest mistake, many first-time offenders receive a rude awakening from their general assumption that it would never happen to them. No matter what, the process is stressful, hurried, and overall bewildering. On top of all that, Ohio’s sentencing standards are known for being punitive, regardless of if you are a first-time offender or a repeat offender.

However, once you are arrested, exercising your right to an attorney, and hiring a qualified Cincinnati criminal defense attorney could help you achieve a favorable outcome in your case. Your status as a first-time offender can be a mitigating factor during pretrial negotiation and contribute to your overall defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know how to use your first-offender status as a tool to fight for a charge reduction, sentencing reduction, or overall dismissal.

Cincinnati First-Time Offender Attorney

If you have been charged with your first offense, you should not face the court alone. Brian Joslyn is passionate about fighting for the rights and charge mitigation of first-time offender cases like yours. This passion is rooted in Joslyn’s personal experience as a first-time offender arrestee for a charge he did not commit and was found innocent of. Due to his passion and professional experience, he can work hard to obtain the best outcome possible for your case.

Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm represents clients in Ohio, including the Hamilton County area. Call the experienced Cincinnati criminal defense attorneys of Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289 to set up your free consultation.

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Overview Of First-Time Offenders

  1. Common First Offenses In Cincinnati
  2. Hamilton County Penalties For First-Time Offenders
  3. Defense Options For First-Time Offenders In Cincinnati
  4. Additional Resources For First-Time Offenders In Ohio

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Common First Offenses In Cincinnati

As we all know, there is a first time for everything. As a result, the number of first-time offenses varies as much as the laws that can be broken. However, some offenses are more common as a first offense than others, which are:

  • Petty theft;
  • Shoplifting;
  • Reckless Driving;
  • OVI/DUI;
  • Major traffic violations;
  • Public intoxication;
  • Minor in possession of alcohol;
  • Possession of marijuana;
  • Possession of controlled substances;
  • Criminal mischief;
  • Assault; and
  • Domestic Violence.

These offenses all have serious legal and social consequences. However, as a first-time offender there may be mitigating circumstances or pretrial diversion programs that could reduce or dismiss your charges. Every case is different, and pretrial diversion is usually handled on a county or municipal level, so contacting an experienced Hamilton County criminal defense attorney to find out your specific options is essential.

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Hamilton County Penalties For First-Time Offenders

Ohio law has punitive standards based on the degree of the offense. Depending on the case, there could be other punishments indicated in the code section that covers your particular offense. To fully understand all potential punishments of your charged offense, check with your attorney.


The general punishment for offenses classified as a misdemeanor depends on the degree of the misdemeanor and are as follows:

  • Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor – Examples of a fourth-degree misdemeanor include consuming alcohol while in a motor vehicle as a passenger, public indecency, and selling or donating contaminated blood. Fourth-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 30 days of jail time and $250 in fines.
  • Third-Degree Misdemeanor – An example of a third-degree misdemeanor is negligent assault. Third-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 60 days of jail time and $500 in fines.
  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor – Examples of second-degree misdemeanors generally involve crimes against property such as vandalism and theft. Second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and $750 in fines.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor – Examples of a first-degree misdemeanor include assault, domestic violence, driving while under the influence, and driving on a suspended license. First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 180 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.


Ohio classifies felony offenses into degrees – first, second, third, fourth, and fifth. First-degree felonies are the most serious, while fifth-degree felonies are the least serious. Generally, a first offense will not result in a first- or second-degree felony charge or conviction.

  • Fifth-Degree Felony – Examples of fifth-degree felonies include breaking and entering and forgery. Fifth-degree felonies are punishable by a definite prison term of 6 to 12 months and a fine up to $2,500.
  • Fourth-Degree Felony – Examples of fourth-degree felonies include vehicular assault and grand theft of a motor vehicle. Fourth-degree felonies are punishable by a definite prison term of six to 18 months of jail time and a fine up to $5,000.
  • Third-Degree Felony – Examples of third-degree felonies include unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, gross sexual imposition, and aggravated vehicular assault or homicide. Third-degree felonies are punishable by a definite prison term of nine months to five years and a fine up to $10,000.

The punishment for first and second-degree felonies works differently than that for other felony classes. Many of us have heard of a sentence of 25 to life. This is a range sentence that is determined based on the person’s behavior and ability to be rehabilitated while in prison. Those convicted of first- and second-degree felonies will be given a minimum and maximum range for their sentence. To determine the range, the judge will choose a minimum sentence based on whether it is a first- or second-degree felony (outlined below) and then add 50 percent of that minimum prison term to get the maximum prison term.

  • Second-Degree Felony – Examples of second-degree felonies include abduction and illegally creating explosives. Second-degree felonies are punishable by a minimum term of two to eight years and a fine up to $15,000.
  • First-Degree Felony – Examples of first-degree felonies include manslaughter, kidnapping, and rape. First-degree felonies are punishable by a minimum term of three to 11 years and a fine up to $20,000.

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Defense Options For First-Time Offenders In Cincinnati

As a first-time offender in Ohio, you may have a certain advantage over repeat offenders who pose a serious danger to society, especially if you were arrested on a nonviolent charge. An experienced Cincinnati criminal defense attorney will be able to use your lack of prior record and any other mitigating factors in the following defense strategies:

  • Before the formal filing of the charges against you, your attorney can intervene with the prosecution and make a case for dismissal or filing of lesser charges. Additionally, your attorney will review the case and identify mitigating factors, inadequacies, and flaws in the case, as well as file any appropriate pretrial motions.
  • Depending on the rules of the county or district, your case may be eligible for a pretrial diversion or intervention program that could reduce or dismiss your charges upon completion. However, not all first offenses are eligible.
  • If your case comes to plea bargaining, your defense attorney can fight for a more favorable outcome using the mitigating factor of being a first-time offender who is unlikely to repeat the offense.

Available strategies, especially when it comes to pretrial diversion and intervention, vary significantly from county to county, district to district, and even city to city. Consulting a criminal defense attorney who serves Hamilton County and the surrounding areas is essential to determine the options for your case.

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Additional Resources For First-Time Offenders In Ohio

Ohio Criminal Bureau of Criminal Investigation – Click the link to visit the official website for the Ohio Attorney General. The site lists information about the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which serves as Ohio’s crime lab and criminal-records keeper.

Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation

1560 State Rt. 56 SW

P.O. Box 365

London, Ohio 43140

Phone: (855) BCI-OHIO (855-224-6446)

Crossroads Recovery Services – Crossroads Recovery Services is a full-service counseling agency in Cincinnati, Ohio, that provides personal counseling services and drug education. Access the site to view the variety of programs they offer to the community.

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Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm │ Hamilton County First-Time Offender Attorney

If you have been arrested and charged with your first offense in Cincinnati, it is imperative that you seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. Being charged with a crime in Ohio can be a stressful experience, especially if this is the first time you have experienced any trouble with the law.

Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm represents clients in the Hamilton County area. Your first consultation is free, so call (513) 399-6289 or submit an online form to see what we can do for your first-time offender case today. The experienced legal team at Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm may be able to use your lack of a record as a mitigating factor in the fight to retain your freedom.

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  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional excellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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