Understanding Your Options as a First-Time Offender
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Is this your first brush with the law?
You should enlist a lawyer to defend you. However, it is important that you choose an attorney who understands the unique opportunities that exist for first offenders.
At the Law Office of Douglas Earl LLC, we can explain the opportunities that are available to people like you. We know how to get you through the justice system and strive to minimize the impact on your life.
A Wide Range of First Offender Programs
The opportunities that exist for first-time offenders vary depending on the charges involved. For example, if you have been accused of DUI or drug possession, you may be able to participate in a diversionary program that involves rehab.
ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) is a common option for first-time offenders. If you successfully complete the ARD program, your record will be erased after a certain amount of time. It is quite common for defendants with no record and charged with DUI or other misdemeanors to have an opportunity to go into the ARD program. The advantage to an ARD program is that there is no guilty finding, no trial, and when the defendant completes the program he can petition the court to have his record expunged.
Section 17 of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act in Pennsylvania. Under Section 17 Probation, individuals charged in Pennsylvania with possession of drugs and no prior record may be eligible for a probationary program. After successful completion of the program, charges are legally dismissed and the individual can petition the court to have his or her criminal record expunged.
Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks Counties have Drug Treatment Courts. Drug Treatment Court serves as a hub for delivery of treatment and other supportive services to more fully address the range of treatment, health, housing, literacy, educational, and other social service needs presented by drug-involved defendants.
Philadelphia has an Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (AMP). AMP offers defendants charged with non-violent misdemeanors the opportunity to have their case heard in a police district courtroom, rather than in the Municipal court system. Individuals can agree to perform community service and pay a fine, without entering a guilty plea, in exchange for the case not going to trial. The arrest may then be expunged, based on timely compliance.
Knowing Which Opportunities to Pursue
Prosecuting attorneys and judges are not always willing to simply offer up these options. A criminal defense lawyer needs to know when to ask for them.
We know how and when to ask. We understand which steps to take to protect your interests. We are a law firm that you can be confident in.
We Fight for You!
With 28 years of experience on our side, we understand that it is often necessary to put up a fight.
Sometimes, depending on the situation, special opportunities for first offenders may not be available. In those situations, we are willing to aggressively fight for you. We will argue your case at trial and take every step to get you a positive outcome.
We’re Here When You Need Us
We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help people in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania.
Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today.