1520 Locust Street, Suite 700
Philadelphia, PA 19102

215.665.1695

First-Time Offenders

When an individual is charged with a crime for the first time, the judicial system in Pennsylvania will typically allow first time offenders to be entered into pretrial diversion or deferred adjudication programs. These programs are geared toward helping the first time offender become rehabilitated, rather than subjecting him or her to harsh penalties.

Philadelphia Defense Attorney for First Time Offenders

At Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC we aggressively represent first time offenders who have been charged with any offense. With the help of a skilled Philadelphia defense attorney, you can successfully avoid spending time behind bars, and be accepted into a pretrial diversion program.

We will work to show the judge why you are eligible for and how you can benefit from a rehabilitative program. If you are a first time offender in Chester County, Bucks County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, New Jersey, or Philadelphia, call us today at (215) 665-1695.


Information for First Time Offenders in Pennsylvania


What is the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program?

One of Pennsylvania’s most commonly used rehabilitative programs is the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). The ARD is a pretrial diversion program that helps individuals avoid time behind bars by placing them in rehabilitative programs, aimed at keeping them from becoming repeat offenders. In order for a defendant to be eligible for ARD or other rehabilitation programs, he or she must:

  • Waive the right to a preliminary hearing
  • Waive the right to a speedy trial
  • Not be facing charges for a sex crime
  • Not be facing charges for a violent offense
  • Not have any pending charges against them
  • Not have been previously convicted of misdemeanor or felony offense
  • Not have previously been involved in ARD or any other pretrial diversion program

Even if an individual meets the above criteria, it is no guarantee that he or she will be accepted into a pretrial diversion program. The decision is ultimately up to the district attorney, who will make a decision based on a variety of factors.


Does It Matter What I am Charged With?

Individuals who have been charged with certain offenses may automatically be ruled ineligible for a diversion program. These programs are usually reserved for defendants who are accused of minor offenses such as:

  • DUI
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Shoplifting
  • Burglary
  • Vandalism
  • Traffic Crimes
  • Crimes involving marijuana

If you have been charged with an offense listed above, or any other minor offense, you could be eligible for a diversion program. Having a qualified criminal defense attorney on your side that has experience dealing with clients in your situation could greatly increase your chance of being accepted into a rehabilitative program.


Providing Quality Legal Representation to First Time Offenders in Chester County

If you have been charged with a crime for the first time, it is natural to feel worried, or uneasy. Let the attorneys of Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC put your mind at peace and alleviate your stress by fighting to have you admitted into a rehabilitative program, and helping you avoid time behind bars.

In order to give yourself the best chance at maintaining your freedom, contact us today at (215) 665-1695 and schedule your consultation. Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC represents first time offenders in and around the counties of Philadelphia, including Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery.

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National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers