I have never been in trouble before, am I eligible to participate in a first-time offender program like ARD for my assault charges?
State College First Time Offender Programs and Assault Charges
It depends. While some Pennsylvania laws or rules do exclude some people from being eligible for ARD consideration, the majority of eligibility decisions regarding ARD are made by the district attorney for the county in which the charges are filed. As a general rule, relatively minor misdemeanor offenses such as Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana, Possession of Paraphernalia, Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, DUI, and some Theft cases are often eligible and approved for ARD if the ARD applicant is a first-time offender.
In some situations and in some counties, the district attorney will consider ARD applications for assault charges. A district attorney is more likely to consider an ARD application for a Simple Assault charge as it is a misdemeanor, but a person charged with Aggravated Assault is generally not going to receive favorable consideration for admission into the ARD program. Centre County assault cases are generally not considered by the Centre County District Attorney for admission into the ARD program.
District attorneys in counties have general tendencies with regard to admission into the ARD program, and an experienced defense attorney should know the tendencies of the district attorney of the county in which your charges have been filed. While district attorneys have predispositions with regard to what cases are or are not eligible for ARD, exceptions can be made depending upon the facts and circumstances in a case. Experienced State College criminal defense lawyer Jason S. Dunkle has personally been involved in cases that generally would not be approved for admission into the ARD program, but, because of special facts and circumstances, the client was approved for admission into the ARD program. A person was approved for a five year ARD program after being charged with a felony offense of Possession With Intent to Deliver approximately two kilograms of cocaine. Generally, a person charged with a felony drug charge is not approved for ARD. Another client was approved for ARD for a felony charge of Aggravated Assault after striking someone on the head three times with nunchucks while a student at Penn State. The client was approved for ARD. It must be emphasized that these two ARD approvals are not ordinary and were only obtainable based upon extremely unique circumstances that were particular to those cases, but it took an experienced criminal defense lawyer to emphasize those unique qualities and thereby obtain the most favorable results for the client. Contact State College criminal defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle today for a free consultation at (814) 954-7622.