Locating Legal Options To Shorten Your Sentence
Pennsylvania law allows for those with little or no previous contact with the criminal justice system the opportunity to avoid vigorous prosecution. Some of these programs allow for the withdrawal of prosecution by the district attorney under the right circumstances. The best-known diversion program in Pennsylvania is Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD).
Attorney Aaron Holt has extensive knowledge of ARD matters. He routinely negotiates with district attorneys in efforts to reduce sentencings and knows the best approach to take when applying for ARD. He can also guide you through ARD, and help you understand whether ARD is an available option for you.
The Advantages Of The ARD Program
There are several reasons why ARD may be a desirable option. There is no plea or admission of guilt.
One reason many criminal defense lawyers feel ARD is preferable to other diversion programs is that, in Pennsylvania, the program is available to those arrested for their first DUI. Most first time DUI cases lead to 48 to 72 hours of incarceration and a one-year license suspension. In the ARD program, there is no jail time for a DUI and a very short license suspension.
Most Pennsylvania counties upon ARD completion issue a certificate of completion. Completion allows for you can file an expungement to have charges erased from your criminal record, The district attorney cannot object to the erasure of the record.
Other Available Diversion Programs
Other types of diversion include:
- Section 17, Probation without Verdict. Section 17 covers individuals facing drug charges. Under this section, you enter a plea of no contest, and the judge holds the plea under advisement. While you are on regular probation, successful completion of the probationary period means there will be no guilty verdict. It also means expungement of your case.
- Intermediate punishment. This diversion program is often helpful in avoiding a harsh sentence. Defendants who have little with the criminal justice system and who accept responsibility for their actions may be ideal candidates for intermediate punishment. The big benefit of intermediate punishment is that mandatory sentences will not apply. While not relevant to all circumstances, there are situations where intermediate punishment is the best option.
- State intermediate punishment. This is like intermediate punishment except that the individual charged is accepting a state sentence. State intermediate punishment works best for an individual facing a massive sentence, who accepts responsibility for their actions, and who wants to minimize penalties as much as possible.
- Motivational boot camp. Such a program is where the judge makes you eligible at the time of sentencing, and you go upstate and wait to see if the Department of Corrections classifies you for boot camp. Once you complete the program, you are eligible for parole. Under the right circumstances, this option could reduce a three-year-minimum sentence to about nine months.
- Veterans Court. Such a program allows them to get their lives back on track. However, it does require that the veteran have an honorable discharge, and it generally does not involve individuals with felonies.
Each of these programs has its advantages and disadvantages. Also, there are fixed conditions concerning some of these programs and not everyone is eligible. Aaron Holt can discuss with you all of these various options and help you arrive at the right conclusion.
Find Out More By Contacting Our Office
There are many available options for individuals facing criminal charges. For a free consultation with a lawyer who can assist with such options, contact Holt Law, in Harrisburg, by calling 717-686-9891. You can also send us an email.