I have a hearing in two days regarding a summary offense for trespassing. This is my first offense of any kind and am curious if I qualify for an ARD program. Also, if I do qualify, how do I got about requesting one in my hearing? Thanks!
Your questions are excellent. However, I strongly encourage you to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney before proceeding further with your plans. After reviewing all of the facts in your case, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to develop and present viable defenses to your charge. Moreover, while ARD is the safe route to follow in many cases where there is no defense to the charges, once used, many counties will NOT offer it a second time for a more serious offense (such as DUI, etc.) Good luck.
To answer your question directly, an application is submitted to the district attorney's office. You really should at least consult an attorney to see if you have any other options. You don't want to just use an ARD if there are other equal or better options.
As you indicated by your question, the ARD program will not be approved by the District Attorney's Office for a variety of crimes or a number of other factors regarding the circumstances of the incident or background of a defendant. The District Attorney's Office developed and offers the ARD program according to the policies of the office. Often times, an attorney can negotiate the terms and conditions/charges with the Assistant District Attorney for the approval of a charge(s) that would normally disqualify the defendant from ARD. Additionally, there are numerous other programs offered by the District Attorney's Office to dispose of the criminal case without a conviction like the ARD program -- you may be able to get a diversion type program while saving the ARD program for the future. Retain a lawyer, this is a criminal case with permanent ramifications and consequences.
The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response is for educational purposes only and help you take the appropriate steps to resolve a legal issue. I have not met with you and I am not knowledgeable about the specific details of your case. Each case is unique and different. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you contact and meet with a licensed criminal defense attorney to discuss your specific circumstances. In addition, an attorney-client relationship is not created by virtue of this response.
One of the main benefits of ard is the expungement of the criminal record. Please note, if you are not able to get ard, summary offenses are expungable, albeit after 5 years
All information provided in this comment is intended for informational purposes only and does not, by itself, create an attorney client relationship. Without the benefit of a personal consultation to explore all of the facts of your legal problem, the information in this posting may be inaccurate and for that reason it should not be relied upon.
Summary offenses usually do not result in ARD. But you might have other options in terms of trying to get this case resolved without a record. I would suggest contacting a criminal defense attorney to better assist you.
DISCLAIMER: Answers are not of fact, but rather the opinion of the attorney answering the questions asked. At no time does this answer create an attorney-client relationship. To the extent that these answers may become available to the general public there is no confidentiality as it pertains to this answer or question. The law changes frequently, and the material on this website is for general information purposes only and neither constitutes nor is intended to be legal advice. Prior to acting based upon this general information you SHOULD seek legal counsel regarding your specific legal matter. The outcome of every case is dependent on the specific facts and legal circumstances of each individual case. This website is not an offer to represent you, which can only be made after a consultation with one of the attorneys from Legalphilly.com. The Lawyer answering this question does not intend to practice in any other jurisdictions where it is not licensed. Attorney is Licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The firm does not seek to represent anyone viewing this website in other jurisdictions, and the website may not comply with the laws and ethical rules of states other than Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Hopefully, this will get to you in time. IF this is your first offense and NOT a felony, then at your preliminary hearing, ask for an application to the ARD program. Most likely, the affiant [police officer] or the assistant district attorney will want you to waive your prelim in order to avert any objection to your entrance into the program. Whether you should waive that hearing depends greatly upon the charge(s), the facts surround the matter, and a few other factors. Without a qualified criminal lawyer with you, you're on your own to make those decisions. As to whether or not you qualify for the ARD program, you haven't provided enough information to properly answer that question.
Any reply by counsel which may appear here does not establish or constitute an attorney-client relationship. Reliance upon material which may appear anywhere within this site is at the reader's own discretion and risk. You are encouraged to speak personally with an attorney of your choice for more in-depth information and discussion of the full facts.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline