Federal First Offender Act (FFOA)

According to the United States Attorneys' Annual Statistical Report for Fiscal Year 2012, 93 percent of the 87,709 defendants terminated during Fiscal Year 2012 either pled guilty or were found guilty. The report stated that the federal rate of conviction has remained over 90 percent since Fiscal Year 2001.

Any person who is facing federal charges for a drug crime in Florida should be aware that federal prosecutors often have far greater resources than their state counterparts and the penalties associated with convictions in such cases can be even more serious than the same crimes prosecuted in state courts. Fortunately, federal law allows for certain offenders to be eligible for probation and avoid possible imprisonment and damaging criminal records.

Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL Discusses Federal First Offender Act

If you are facing federal charges relating to alleged drug possession in South Florida, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. aggressively defends clients in communities throughout Broward County, such as Pompano Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Hollywood, and many others.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell will work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable resolution to your case that results in the fewest possible consequences.

Call (954) 716-8538 today to have our attorneys review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.


Broward County Federal First Offender Act Information Center


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Federal First Offender Act Eligibility in Florida

Title 18 U.S. Code § 3607 is otherwise known as the Federal First Offender Act (FFOA). Title 18 U.S. Code § 3607(a) states that the court may, with the consent of an alleged offender, place him or her on probation for a term of up to one year without entering a judgment of conviction when the  individual is found guilty of an offense described in section 404 of the Controlled Substances Act (relating to knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled substance) so long as the alleged offender:

  • has not, prior to the commission of such offense, been convicted of violating a Federal or State law relating to controlled substances; and
  • has not previously been the subject of a disposition under this subsection.

The court can dismiss the proceedings against the alleged offender and discharge him or her from probation at any time without entering a judgment of conviction if the offender has not violated a condition of his or her probation.

If the offender does violate a condition of his probation, the court will proceed in accordance with the provisions of Title 18 Section 3565 of the U.S. Code (possibly involving revocation of probation and resentencing of the alleged offender).


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Federal First Offender Act Dispositions in Broward County

Under Title 18 U.S. Code § 3607(b), a nonpublic record of a disposition under Title 18 U.S. Code § 3607(a) or a conviction subject of an expungement order under Title 18 U.S. Code § 3607(c) will be retained by the Department of Justice (DOJ) solely for the purpose of use by the courts in determining in any subsequent proceeding whether a person qualifies for the disposition or expungement provided by those subsections. Such disposition or conviction will not be considered a conviction for the purpose of a disqualification or a disability imposed by law upon conviction of a crime, or for any other purpose.

Title 18 U.S. Code § 3607(c) establishes that when an alleged offender less than 21 years of age who has been found guilty of an offense under section 404 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 844) is the subject of a disposition under Title 18 U.S. Code § 3607(a), the court must enter an expungement order upon the application of such person. The expungement order will direct that all references to his or her arrest for the offense, the institution of criminal proceedings against him, and the results thereof be expunged from all official records, except the nonpublic records referred to in Title 18 U.S. Code § 3607(b).

The FFOA states, "The effect of the order shall be to restore such person, in the contemplation of the law, to the status he occupied before such arrest or institution of criminal proceedings." People who qualify for such expungement are thus able to legally deny having been arrested for those offenses.


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Federal First Offender Act Resources in Florida

First Offenders | United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) — The USSC is an independent federal agency responsible for creating the sentencing guidelines for the United States federal courts. Visit this section of the USSC website to find various information relating to first-time offenders. You can read press releases, view recent amendments, and access sentencing tables.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) | Controlled Substances Act — The DEA is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for enforcing the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States. On this section of the DEA website, you can learn more about the Controlled Substance Act and formal scheduling. You can also find a link to an alphabetical listing of controlled substances and more information on the drug scheduling process.


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Find a Federal First Offender Act Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Were you recently arrested for an alleged federal drug crime in Broward County? Do not say anything to authorities until you have first contacted Meltzer & Bell, P.A..

Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale who represent individuals in Coconut Creek, Tamarac, Sunrise, Hallandale Beach, Deerfield Beach, Margate, Wilton Manors, Weston, and several other surrounding areas in South Florida.

You can have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (954) 716-8538 or submit an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.



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