First Offender Law and Legal Definition

First offender refers to a person convicted of a legal offense for the first time. First offender is entitled to special privileges in a criminal trial.

In the U.S., the Federal First Offender Act (FFOA), 18 USCS § 3607 provides a special probation program for first offenders. In order to qualify for first offender treatment under federal law, a person must show that;

(1) s/he has been found guilty of simple possession of a controlled substance;

(2) s/he has not, prior to the commission of such offense, been convicted of violating a federal or state law relating to controlled substances;

(3) s/he has not previously been accorded first offender treatment under any law; and

(4) the court has entered an order pursuant to a state rehabilitative statute under which the criminal proceedings have been deferred pending successful completion of probation or the proceedings have been or will be dismissed after probation. [Cardenas-Uriarte v. INS, 227 F.3d 1132, 1136 (9th Cir. 2000)]