First Chance was an effort on the part of the Harris County D.A.'s Office to keep those first-time offenders who commit nonviolent crimes from having a criminal record and spending time behind bars.
For instance, whereas a person caught possessing marijuana would normally be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor in Texas which carries up to 180 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines, with the First Chance Intervention Program, the same person could avoid being charged so long as they complete the program.
Those who can be considered eligible for the program are those:
- Detained or arrested for 2 ounces of marijuana or less
- Not currently on bond, deferred adjudication, or probation
- Possessing sufficient identifying information
- Having not participated in the program or another pre-trial intervention program
- Having no outstanding warrants or holds
- Who have no criminal convictions as an adult
How can I enroll in the program?
To enter the program, your first step is to contact Pretrial Services no more than 3 days after your arrest and set up an intake appointment and to appear at your scheduled time.
You will then participate in the program for 60 or 90 days during which time you must:
- Break no further laws
- Pay a non-refundable fee of $100, which can be waived or reduced if you cannot afford it
- Complete 8 hours of community service or 8 hours of a cognitive class
Should I hire a Marijuana Attorney in Houston?
Although the 1st Chance Intervention Program can help prevent some serious consequences, eligibility and the enrollment processes vary from county to county. It is important that you hire an attorney to help navigate you through this process and make sure you are granted the diversion programs you are eligible for.
If you or someone you love was recently arrested, speak with our Houston drug crimes attorney at Mark Morasch, Attorney at Law and we can determine if you are eligible for the 1st Chance Program!