First Time Felony Offender Waiver | FTOW| A Washington Criminal Defense Lawyer | Attorney’s Perspective on The First Time Offender Felony Waiver.
As criminal defense attorneys | lawyers who handle a wide variety of minor and serious felonies throughout the State of Washington, we are acutely aware of what sentencing alternatives are available. Although not always applicable in more serious felonies, the first time offender waiver, FTOW, is one alternative we help our clients consider. It is different Adult Drug Court, Mental Health Court, Parenting Sentencing Alternative or a DOSA sentence.
In a nutshell, if you qualify for a first time felony waiver, instead of doing all the time the criminal rules dictate, the court has the option of imposing a sentence of up to 90 days in confinement (jail) and can give up to 6 months of community custody (what used to be called probation in the old days), or 12 months of community custody if some sort of treatment is ordered (drug treatment, alcohol treatment, mental health treatment etc.). The conditions put in place with community custody can vary and are only limited by the law and what the judge thinks is appropriate after hearing arguments from the prosecuting attorney and your criminal defense lawyer.
First Time Felony Waiver – FTOW – Eligibility Requirements
To qualify for a first time offender waiver, FTOW, you must satisfy 3 basic requirements:
- You must have never been previously convicted of a felony anywhere in the United States;
- You must have never participated in a felony deferred prosecution program;
- Your conviction cannot be for any felony defined under any law as a class A felony or an attempt to commit a class A felony. Criminal solicitation of or criminal conspiracy to commit a class A felony will also make you ineligible. Typically, sex and violent offenses will exclude you from this alternative.
The Washington Revised Code Section applicable to First Time Offender Waivers sets forth the exclusions and eligibility and obligations in detail. A few notable components of this alternative sentence are your prohibition from further criminal activity and up to 12 months of community custody if the court orders treatment. For more info on community custody, see our section on community custody. The conditions put in place with community custody can vary and are only limited by the law and what the judge thinks is appropriate after hearing arguments from the prosecuting attorney and your criminal defense lawyer.
We have seen courts give no jail sentences with community service, light jail sentences with thousands of hours of community service and we have also seen judges refuse to apply the first time felony waiver based on a defendant’s behavior. If the crime you are sentenced on qualifies for a first time felony waiver, it is important that you and your criminal defense attorney | lawyer pay close attention to collecting and preparing information that will sway a judge in the in the right direction. This is key in any case, but especially if you are asking a court to see why a light sentence is applicable. Our office, in practice and principle, makes it a policy to submit written, detailed pre-sentence recommendations with attachments on any case involving a felony or troubling fact pattern. As an old wise mentor once said, if you want a different result in a case, you better give a reason. We take the time to do so.
The criminal defense lawyers | attorneys in our office have handled an enormous number of complicated cases in the criminal arena over the course of our lengthy criminal law careers. We are a unique blend of courtroom experience, knowledge, skills and temperament. Our lawyers know criminal cases are rarely as simple as the police reports claim and our clients hire us because they want staunch and effective counsel who take the time to make sure their rights are protected. Whether our role is as legal counsel, negotiator, or litigator, we have years of experience fighting and resolving cases with our clients’ best interests in mind. Choosing the right counsel for your case is essential. Consultations are free but a poor choice in counsel is not. Call us at 206-708-7852 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.