When facing criminal charges, you may be eligible for certain diversionary programs. These programs are designed to divert cases away from the criminal justice system and typically mean expungement of your record.
The most common diversionary program in Pennsylvania is Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD. This program does not mean an admission of guilty and does not require a guilty plea. Rather, participants admitted to the ARD program are given an opportunity to earn a dismissal of the charges against them. ARD participants are given conditions that they must satisfy during the course of the program. Once those conditions are met, the charges are dismissed and the record may be expunged. ARD conditions generally involve a period of probation (which may be non-reporting), community service, safe driving classes (if a DUI offense), and the payment of fines/costs. Successful completion of these conditions means dismissal and expungement. If facing criminal charges, don’t hesitate. Contact Schatz & Stancu today to see if you’re eligible.
Section 17 & Section 18
Section 17 and Section 18 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code allow for a period of probation without verdict. Participation in the Section 17 or Section 18 programs may require a plea of ‘nolo contendere’, or ‘no contest’. Participants are then placed on a period of probation. Upon successful completion of that probation, the charges are dismissed and may be expunged from the record. Like ARD, Section 17 and Section 18, is intended to give the participant a chance to earn a dismissal of the charges and expungement of their record. Contact Schatz & Stancu today to help you take advantage of this second chance.
Those facing drug charges in Bucks County, PA have another diversionary program available to them – the District Court Diversionary Program (DCDP). This program does not require a guilty plea and, if successfully completed, will not mean a conviction on your record. DCDP is a treatment focused program. Your case remains at the District Court level and will not be sent to the Court of Common Pleas. This means a quicker disposition of your case, as you can earn dismissal of the charges in 3 to 6 months from the time of arrest. At Schatz & Stancu, we have extensive experience helping clients navigate DCDP to have their case dismissed. Contact us today to see if you qualify.
Each Pennsylvania County has a number of specialty Courts that have been created to address cases with particularly unique circumstances. These Courts include, Drug Treatment Court, Mental Health Court, Veterans Court, Youthful Offender Program, and more. The terms and availability of these Courts and programs vary from county to county and are always changing. These Courts are generally created as an alternative to incarceration. Often, successful completion will lead to a reduction of the charges against you. An experienced and qualified criminal defense lawyer will know the available specialty Courts and whether it is in your interest to take advantage of them. Contact Schatz & Stancu immediately to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity.