What Happens After I Complete a Diversion Program in Philadelphia?

Pennsylvania is one of many states that has acknowledged that not all crimes deserve the harsh consequences that are oftentimes carried out by the criminal justice system, particularly crimes that are committed for the first time or aren't violent in nature. The state understands that sometimes counseling and rehabilitation are more effective solutions for some crimes than punishment.

The development of diversion programs by the state legislature has proven to be a useful alternative on all fronts. Depending on the criminal charge, these programs “divert” defendants from the criminal justice system to counseling and rehabilitation early in the process. In some cases, a defendant doesn't even have to plead guilty or no-contest to qualify for diversion programs. Other systems, however, may require the defendant to formally admit guilt, but suspend or alleviate punishment until a defendant completes the program. Ultimately, diversion aids in deterring recidivism while giving defendants the opportunity to compensate victims.

The most common diversion programs in Philadelphia include:

  • ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) Program
  • Summary Diversion Program
  • AMP I (Alternative Misdemeanor Program I)
  • AMP II (Alternative Misdemeanor Program II)
  • Drug Treatment Court

Completing Diversion Programs in Philadelphia

In order to partake in a diversionary program, a defendant must qualify. Each of the programs mentioned above has various eligibility requirements for entry. Once admitted, it is up to defendants to follow the rules to successfully complete a program. Each program offers different outcomes when completed.

ARD Program

The ARD program is a pre-trial intervention alternative that solely extends to non-violent, first-time offenders. Once this program is completed, the original criminal charges will be dismissed and eligible for expungement.

Summary Diversion Program

The summary diversion program entails for defendants charged with summary offenses to attend an event on a weekend in the Criminal Justice Center. Upon successful completion of this program, the defendant will not be required to appear in court for the matter. The defendant's summary arrest record will be automatically expunged.

AMP I and II

Defendants accepted into either one of these programs are required to complete community service hours and pay court costs within five weeks of accepting the terms. If completed, the prosecution is withdrawn and defendants will be waived from future court dates. The defendant is also not required to return to court or register with probation.

Drug Treatment Court

Drug treatment court is an intensive program that covers four phases over the course of a year. Each phase represents a step toward sobriety. Upon the completion of the four phases, defendants graduate, whereupon their no contest plea is withdrawn and charges are dismissed with prejudice. The case is marked closed at that point. Lastly, if a defendant remains crime-free and drug and alcohol-free during the following year, their case will be expunged.

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Philadelphia, you may be eligible for entry into one of the city's many diversion programs. Consult with experienced criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for more information about how you can get approved. Contact him today online or by phone at (215) 535-5353.

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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