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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Moisant

First-Time Offenders in Louisiana: Options for Leniency and Alternative Sentencing

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

First time being arrested

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For personalized legal advice, please consult with a qualified attorney.

First Time Offenders Have Options

Being charged with a crime can be a frightening experience, especially if it's your first time facing the criminal justice system. The good news is that first-time offenders often have more options for leniency and alternative sentencing compared to repeat offenders. In this blog post, we'll explore some of these options available under Louisiana law.

Pretrial Diversion Programs

One of the most common options for first-time offenders is a pretrial diversion program. These programs are designed to divert eligible individuals away from the traditional criminal justice system and into a program of supervision and services. Successful completion of the program can result in the charges being dropped or reduced. For more information on pretrial diversion programs in Louisiana, check out this comprehensive guide from the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Deferred Sentencing

Deferred sentencing is another option that may be available for a first time offender. Under this arrangement, the court postpones sentencing for a period during which the defendant must meet certain conditions, such as attending drug or alcohol counseling. If the conditions are met, the charges may be reduced or dismissed altogether. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections provides more details on deferred sentencing options.

Drug Courts

For drug-related offenses, Louisiana has specialized Drug Courts that focus on treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment. Participants undergo intensive substance abuse treatment and are closely monitored. Successful completion of the program can result in a reduced sentence or even dismissal of charges.

Plea Bargaining

In some cases, the prosecution may be willing to offer a plea deal that includes a reduced charge or sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. This is often more likely for first-time offenders who have committed non-violent crimes. For more insights into plea bargaining, you can read this article.


After successfully completing a diversion program or serving a deferred sentence, you may be eligible for expungement, which would erase the arrest or conviction from your public record. The Louisiana State Police provides a detailed guide on how to apply for expungement.

Community Service and Restitution

Some judges may offer the option of community service or restitution as an alternative to jail time. This is particularly common for minor offenses and is often viewed as a way for the offender to make amends to the community.

Consult a Qualified Attorney

If you're a first-time offender, it's crucial to consult a qualified attorney who can guide you through the complexities of the Louisiana criminal justice system. An attorney can help you understand your options and negotiate for the most lenient sentence possible. For personalized advice, contact Moisant Law Firm today.

Local Resources

Remember, being a first-time offender can offer you more options for leniency and alternative sentencing. However, the best way to navigate the system is with the help of a qualified attorney. Feel free to reach out to us at Moisant Law Firm for a consultation.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. For personalized legal advice, consult with a qualified attorney.

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