first offender


Definition of first offender

: one convicted of an offense for the first time

Examples of first offender in a Sentence

Because he was a first offender, he was put on probation rather than sentenced to jail.
Recent Examples on the Web Stone faces a maximum 50 years in prison for the charges, although a first offender would face far less time under federal sentencing guidelines. Washington Post, "Roger Stone asks to delay Feb. 6 sentencing by at least one month, saying he needs more time to complete financial disclosure statement," 19 Dec. 2019 No nonviolent first offender, other than a perpetrator of egregious crimes, such as Bernard Madoff, should be imprisoned; they should be punished in other, more efficient and less costly ways, such as obligatory spartan living and contributed work. Conrad Black, National Review, "Joe Biden: Mediocrity Personified," 2 Oct. 2019 Bjerke was one of the first offenders identified in Virginia using forensic genealogy, an increasingly common technique for solving cold cases where police have little evidence beyond DNA. Rachel Weiner, Washington Post, "Man pleads guilty to 2016 Alexandria rape solved using forensic genealogy," 17 Oct. 2019 Crossing the border without documents and attempting to elude border authorities is a misdemeanor for first offenders. Caitlin Dickerson, New York Times, "U.S. Government Plans to Collect DNA From Detained Immigrants," 2 Oct. 2019 Prison, for nonviolent first offenders, is more of a problem than a solution. Conrad Black, National Review, "Joe Biden: Mediocrity Personified," 2 Oct. 2019 The charge of making false statements carries up to a five-year prison sentence, but federal guidelines for a first offender include probation. Washington Post, "Closing arguments in Democratic power lawyer Gregory Craig’s trial focus jurors on alleged lies about Ukraine work with Paul Manafort," 3 Sep. 2019 Laye also faces charges of obstruction of an officer and possession of a firearm by a first offender probationer. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "UPDATE: Atlanta officer suspended after arrest in $30K drug raid," 13 June 2018 But Mr Sessions also wants to lock up first offenders, who can be detained for up to six months by immigration authorities. The Economist, "A cruel and unusual border policy," 2 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'first offender.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of first offender

1808, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of first offender was in 1808

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Cite this Entry

“First offender.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for first offender

first offender


English Language Learners Definition of first offender

law : a person who is convicted for the first time of committing a crime

first offender


Legal Definition of first offender

: one convicted of an offense for the first time

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