What is GeorgiaFirst Offender Act (FOA)?

The Georgia First Offender Act (FOA) is a provision of Georgia law that allows certain individuals to enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendere but avoid a criminal conviction, giving first time offenders the opportunity to to learn from their mistake and move on with their lives without the burden of a conviction. This is not a “free pass” as the person may still receive a sentence including probation, prison time, or a combination of the two, and will only be sentenced as a First Offender upon successful completion of the sentence (including any terms of First Offender Probation.) First Offender adjudication is not a conviction, it is a “deferred adjudication” meaning a conviction is not entered even though you plead guilty.


Who Is Eligible?

If you have not previously been convicted of a felony and have not previously plead guilty under the First Offender Act you are likely eligible for First Offender treatment. However, there are exceptions, such as charges including DUI, serious violent felonies, sexual offenses, trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude, exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults or elder persons, sexual exploitation of a minor, electronically furnishing obscene material to a minor, computer pornography and child exploitation, aggravated assault and/or battery against a law enforcement officer, and obstruction of a law enforcement officer if such obstruction results in serious physical harm to that officer.


What is the Sentencing Process Under the First Offender Act?

Before you are sentenced, you or your attorney must specifically request the judge to sentence you under the First Offender Act. Along with input from your attorney and the prosecutor, the judge will decide whether to grant this request and sentence you as a First Offender. If your request is denied, it cannot be appealed. If your request is approved, you will be sentenced and your official criminal history report will say “First Offender Act” during your sentence. During this time if you violate the terms of your sentence the judge will revoke your First Offender status, you will be convicted, and possibly receive the maximum punishment for your offense(s).


Bail Bonds + FOA = Reduced Jail Time

Our bail opportunities and the First Offender Act can reduce the amount of time you spend in jail, allowing you to move forward with your life. For more information about bail options and/or the First Offender Act, contact us today!