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First Offender Treatment

Student Legal Services - ASUW

First Offender Treatment

It is important to recognize that Wyoming offers First Offender Treatment under Wyoming Statute §7-13-301 titled "Placing Person Found Guilty, But Not Convicted, On Probation," but commonly called the first offender law.  If an individual has been charged with a misdemeanor crime and has not previously been convicted of a felony or charged with and/or convicted of a second or subsequent violation of driving or having control of a vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substances (DUI), and/or simple assault or battery upon a household member, then Wyoming offers the opportunity under W.S. §7-13-301 for the individual being charged with the crime to receive First Offender Treatment.  (The law also offers First Offender Treatment to a person charged with a felony crime but most students who might come into contact with the criminal justice system find themselves charged with misdemeanors).  The guidelines set out in the statute read as follows:
(a) If a person who has not previously been convicted of any felony is charged with or is found guilty of or pleads guilty or no contest to any misdemeanor except any second or subsequent violation of W.S. §31-5-233 (driving or having control of a vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substances) or any similar provision of law, or any second or subsequent violation of W.S. §6-2-501 (a) or (b) (simple assault, battery) by a household member as defined by W.S. §35-21-102 against any other household member or any similar provision of law, or any felony except murder, sexual assault in the first or second degree, aggravated assault and battery or arson in the first and second degree, the court may, with the consent of the defendant and the state and without entering a judgment of guilt or conviction, defer further proceedings and place the person on probation for a term not to exceed five (5) year upon terms and conditions set forth by the court.  The terms of probation shall include that he/she:

  (i) Report to the court not less than twice in each year at times and places in the order;
  (ii) Conduct himself in a law-abiding manner;
  (iii) Not leave the state without the consent of the court;
  (iv) Conform his conduct to any other terms of probation the court finds proper; and
  (v) Pay restitution to each victim in accordance with W.S. §7-9-101 and §§7-9-103 through 7-9-112.

 (b) If the court finds the person has fulfilled the terms of probation and that his rehabilitation has been attained to the satisfaction of the court, the court may at    the end of five (5) years, or at any time after the expiration of one (1) year from the date of the original probation, discharge the person and dismiss the proceedings against him.
 (c) If the defendant violates a term or condition of probation at any time before final discharge the court may:
  (i) Enter an adjudication of guilt and conviction and proceed to impose sentence upon the defendant if he previously pled guilty to or was found guilty of the original charge for which probation was granted under this section; or
  (ii) Order that the trial of the original charge proceed if the defendant has not previously pled or been found guilty.
 (d) Discharge and dismissal under this section shall be without adjudication of guilt and is not a conviction for any purpose.
 (e) There shall be one (1) discharge and dismissal under this section or under any similar section of the probationary statutes of any other jurisdiction.

One thing to note is that First Offender Treatment is never automatically granted and is always a discretionary decision made by a judge.  The prosecution may consent; however the judge will make the final decision.  First Offender Treatment is only granted to an individual once in his or her lifetime and therefore he or she will not be able to receive First Offender Treatment for any other charge.  Be aware it is not granted to many people. 

The Laramie Municipal Court has a well defined procedure if a defendant wishes to be considered for First Offender Treatment.  First, at the arraignment the individual is to plead not guilty.  Then a request for the First Offender Treatment is to be made in writing and sent to the City Attorney.  The City Attorney then decides whether to consent.  If approved by the City Attorney the request is sent to the judge who makes the final decision of approval.  At this point a motion hearing is set.  At the motion hearing, the defendant is to change his or her plea to guilty and move for consideration of First Offender Treatment.  Finally, if this is granted, a defendant should expect to complete probationary terms and conditions which are some or all of the following:

  • Community service
  • Obtaining a drug/alcohol evaluation
  • Completing follow up treatments that are recommended
  • Donating to charitable organizations
  • Attending a Victims Impact Panel

It is recommended that before asking for First Offender Treatment, the individual take all this information given above into full consideration.  There are times that it is less burdensome for an individual to plead guilty and pay a fine rather than go through the First Offender process.  Also, if an individual violates the First Offender Treatment terms and conditions there is an increase in risk of being sentenced to jail.  If an individual charged with a crime in Laramie still would like to be considered for First Offender Treatment and would like to learn more he or she should click on the following links:

http://www.ci.laramie.wy.us/cityhall/cityattorney/index.html 

http://www.ci.laramie.wy.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/46  


First Offender Treatment consideration is also available for offenses charged through Laramie's two state courts of record: the Circuit Court of Albany County and the District Court.  For further information pertaining to First Offender Treatment in Circuit Court and District Court look at Wyoming Statute §7-13-301 and speak with Student Legal Services or your defense attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge.

 


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Julianne Gern

1000 E. University Ave

Knight Hall 128

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3296

Email: sls@uwyo.edu

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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