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Pennsylvania Defense Attorney Helps Clients Avoid Prosecution for Nonviolent Offenses

Respected Philadelphia firm skilled in obtaining accelerated rehabilitative disposition

Like many states, Pennsylvania has a pre-trial intervention program designed to give people charged as first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to avoid a criminal record and put their lives back on track. Prioritizing rehabilitation over jail time, Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) requires individuals to complete a program of court-ordered supervision and other conditions instead of facing trial. If they successfully complete the program, their charges are dismissed. At the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman in Philadelphia, we are experienced at helping clients through all stages of ARD, from establishing their eligibility to expunging their arrest record upon completion.

Dedicated counselors use ARD to give defendants a fresh start

If you are charged with a minor misdemeanor such as shoplifting, vandalism or possession of small amounts of marijuana, you may be eligible for ARD. The remedy is also available for charges of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) unless injury to another person was involved.

ARD lasts a maximum of two years and can cost as much as $2,000. However, the long-term advantages far outweigh the costs. The benefits of ARD include:

  • Clear criminal record — ARD can stop a one-time mistake from turning into a permanent record that appears on background checks and limits your career opportunities.
  • Shorter license suspension — A first-time DUI conviction normally results in a full-year license suspension in Pennsylvania, but suspension may be only a month long if ARD is approved.
  • Rehabilitation — One of the main goals of ARD is to help defendants put their lives back on track. It may include mandatory substance abuse treatment to resolve drug or alcohol problems.

ARD gives people a chance to correct mistakes and make better decisions going forward without the handicap of a criminal record.

Established firm advises offenders on ARD requirements and eligibility

Qualifying for ARD requires the approval of the local District Attorney’s Office. You must submit a written application at least 30 days before your scheduled preliminary hearing in court. The application requires information about your prior criminal record (if any), your family situation, your education, your employment and your military status. It requires stating in detail why you believe you would benefit from ARD and also listing a person to serve as a character reference.

You may be ineligible for ARD if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Prior record — If you had any conviction or ARD participation within the prior 10 years.
  • Serious harm inflicted — If a DUI or misdemeanor resulted in serious bodily harm or death.
  • Involvement of a minor — If you had a passenger under the age of 14 during an alleged DUI.

The victims of the crime, as well as the police, have the right to be heard on whether ARD should be approved in your case.

If granted ARD, you will be placed on probation and ordered to pay fines and costs. Additional terms of participation may include community service, substance abuse treatment and official supervision.

Thirty days after completing ARD, you may petition the court to have your arrest record, charges and ARD record expunged. The process typically takes four to six months.

It is important to note that the decision to approve ADR participation is solely within the authority of the District Attorney’s Office. A seasoned defense lawyer’s advice and representation during the ARD application process can be indispensable to obtaining approval.

Contact an experienced Pennsylvania defense attorney for help with pretrial intervention

At the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman, we help Pennsylvania first-time offenders clear their names through the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. From our office in Philadelphia, we represent clients in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. To schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney, call us at 215-563-7100 or contact us online.