First Time Offenders
If you have been arrested for the first time, it can be a horrific experience. Depending on the crime, many people feel as though they have little or no chance of avoiding time behind bars. Fortunately for individuals in Pennsylvania, there are programs in place for first time offenders that offer them an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves, while having their charges dismissed in the process. Learn more about Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program and how our team of experienced defense attorneys can provide you guidance and representation in avoiding a trial and gaining entry into a pretrial diversion programs that can avoid a finding of guilty, conviction and penalties and allow you to regain a clean record.
Chester County First Time Offender Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime for the first time in Delaware County, Chester County, Lancaster County, or Montgomery County, it would be beneficial to consult with the team of compassionate defense lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices. With offices conveniently located in Kennett Square, Radnor, Plymouth Meeting, Lancaster, West Chester, Lancaster, Malvern, Philadelphia, or King of Prussia, these experienced defense attorneys serve clients in the greater Philadelphia region who are facing criminal charges for the first time.
The attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices are devoted to working together as a team to provide clients with a thorough defense that will give them the best chance of maintain their freedom. Call us today at (610) 692-8700 to set up a consultation to discuss your case and let these West Chester attorneys serve you.
First Time Offender Details
- Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program in Pennsylvania
- Frequently Accepted Charges for ARD
- Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition in Chester County (ARD)
- Chester County ARD Guidelines
Among the most well-known and commonly used rehabilitative program in Pennsylvania includes the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. Commonly referred to as a pretrial diversion or deferred disposition programs, the ARD program diverts first time offenders from jail/prison, to rehabilitation programs in an attempt to prevent individuals from becoming repeat offenders.
According to 234 Pa. Code Rule § 300-320, the District Attorney is responsible for determining if an individual is eligible for and should be placed in an ARD program. In order to be eligible, the defendant must:
- Pay all court costs
- Waive the right to a preliminary hearing
- Waive the right for a speedy trial
- Not be currently facing charges for a violent or sex crime
- Not have previously participated in an ARD program
- Not have previously taken part in a pretrial diversion program
- Not have any pending charges
- Not have any previous felony or misdemeanor convictions
It is important to note that it is up to the District Attorney’s discretion as to which cases will be accepted into the ARD program. With the help of an experienced West Chester criminal defense attorney, you may be able to avoid the penalties associated with your alleged offense by showing that you are eligible for a diversion program. Cases that are typically accepted include:
- Minor Traffic Offenses
- Drug Possession
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Trespass
- White Collar crimes (Forgery/Embezzlement)
Even though the ARD program was enacted and legislated by Pennsylvania, each local county DA has the discretion to manage the ARD program in their county. In Chester County , an individual who wishes to apply for the ARD program must agree to appear at their preliminary hearing, submit an application for ARD prepared by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, and agree to waiving the preliminary hearing, filing of a criminal information and formal arraignment.
Chester County has both a fast-track ARD program and a normal ARD program. The fast track ARD program is commonly used for first time offender DUI charges. At the preliminary hearing, a fast tract date is given of when the case will be heard before a Chester County Common Pleas Judge for entry into the ARD program.
In order to be eligible for the ARD program, an individual normally is forbidden from having any prior criminal convictions as a juvenile or adult. Unlike most counties in Pennsylvania, in Chester County, an individual is not automatically precluded from apply for ARD if they have a prior misdemeanor conviction, ARD, or juvenile adjudication that is more than ten (10 ) years from the date of the new offense.
An individual cannot enter if the ARD program in Chester County if the District Attorney denies their application. In additional to be denied ARD for prior felonies and prior criminal history within ten years, acceptance in the program will also be rejected if the individual has more than one prior misdemeanor or ARD on their record; is charged with a crime of violence or a crime against a child; has a poor driving record; was driving intoxicated with anyone under fourteen years of age in the car, was driving intoxicated and caused an accident that resulted in serious injury; or the victim opposes the ard application.
Pennsylvania First DUI Information Center
- First DUI in Pennsylvania
- Penalties for a First DUI in Pennsylvania
- Role of a West Chester Attorney in DUI Cases
First DUI in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, any individual who has taken drugs or consumed alcohol is considered to be under the influence. Anyone who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above can be charged with DUI.
It is important to understand that the amount of drinks it takes for an individual to reach a BAC of .08 can differ from person to person. Several factors can influence your BAC, including how quickly you consumed the alcohol, as well as how much food you ate prior to taking your first drink.
Penalties for a First DUI in Chester County
The penalties associated with a first DUI in Pennsylvania are based on what your BAC was at the time of your arrest. If your BAC was .09 or below, you will be subjected to up to six months of probation, up to $300 in fines, and the mandatory attendance of an alcohol treatment and alcohol highway safety program.
If your BAC was between .1 and .15, you fill face a driver’s license suspension for up to one year, a fine between $500 and $5,000, along with alcohol highway safety and alcohol treatment programs.
If you had a BAC at or above .16 at the time of your arrest, there is a mandatory jail sentence of a minimum of three days with a maximum of six months.
For individuals who refuse to take a DUI test, there is an automatic license suspension of one year, along with a minimum of 72 hours in jail.
Role of a Pennsylvania Attorney in DUI Cases
Once charged with a DUI, a conviction is not automatic. Even if you took a chemical test and it showed that your BAC was over the legal limit, there are still defense options available to you.
Your attorney can point out flaws in the testing equipment, or errors made by law enforcement while administering the test. If the arresting officer pulled you over without probable cause, failed to notify you of your Miranda rights, or violated your constitutional rights in any other way, your West Chester DUI defense attorney can use those mistakes to potentially have your charges dropped.
Additionally, Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) may be an option for you for a first DUI offense. Under ARD, you perform community service and go through substance abuse treatment within 60 days of the ARD hearing. You will not spend time in jail, and your record may be expunged upon completion. For DUI offense, you are usually put on a “fast track” program in Chester County.
We will help you find the best solution for your DUI defense.
Ciccarelli Law Offices | Chester County First DUI Lawyer
Your Attorney for a First DUI
If you are facing DUI charges, it is important that you take a proactive approach to defending yourself against these charges. Ciccarelli Law Offices provides quality legal representation for individuals who have been arrested for DUI in Willow Street, Newton Square, Coatesville, Norristown, and other cities in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices today at (610) 692-8700 to set up a consultation with an experienced West Chester defense lawyer. Your consultation is the first step in developing a defense strategy that could preserve your freedom.
Helping You Maintain a Clean Criminal Record
If you have been arrested for a crime for the first time in and around the cities of Coatesville, Norristown, Newton Square, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Exton, Willow Street, or Downingtown, contact Ciccarelli Law Offices. With the help of skilled defense lawyers who take a team approach to your case, you will have the best chance of being accepted into a diversion program that will allow you to maintain a clean criminal record.
Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices today at (610) 692-8700 to set up a consultation on your case. The attorneys at the firm will ensure that you are making informed legal decisions by keeping you involved and informed throughout every step of the legal process.