I recently represented a client in Berks County who was charged with several felony charges, including theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, identify theft, and forgery. My client was accused of opening several “credit accounts” using another individual’s name and information and proceeding to make purchases using those accounts. There were quite a few purchases made over a period of time, and the total value of the items purchased was over $7,000.00.
My client adamantly denied the charges. Interestingly, my client did not deny making the purchases of these items. My client did, however, deny that any “credit accounts” were opened or that any purchases were made without the consent of the actual owner of the accounts. Under no circumstances did my client want to be labeled a “felon”, nor could my client even begin to consider the possibility of serving a prison sentence.
Although my client and I discussed the pros and cons of taking this matter to a jury trial, ultimately a jury would simply have to decide who to believe, my client or the alleged victim. In essence, it was a classic case of “he said / she said”, and I could not guarantee my client any particular outcome. Additionally, I could not eliminate the threat of jail time for my client.
I ultimately decided to make an attempt to get my client placed on the ARD Program, which would have to be approved by the Berks County District Attorney’s Office. Although it is rare for felony charges to qualify for the ARD Program, it is done under certain circumstances. In this case, I was able to successfully negotiate with the assistant district attorney based one two (2) main factors. First, the alleged victim in the case was elderly and not in the best health. Second, my client had enough assets to make a large payment towards the restitution in the case. Therefore, in order to spare the alleged victim the stress of a trial, my client was approved for the ARD Program. Additionally, my client made a $5,000.00 payment towards the total amount of restitution in the case prior to being placed on the program.
My client will be under a period of informal supervision for 24 months, during which time the remaining amount of the restitution will be paid off. Once the ARD Program is complete, my client will have no record of any type of conviction related to this case, and my client’s record will be expunged. Additionally, by successfully getting my client on the ARD Program, there was no chance of my client serving any jail time. Finally, my client will be eligible for early termination of ARD after only 12 months, assuming all other program criteria are complete.
In the end, my client was very happy with the outcome and extremely satisfied with my services. Please call to setup a no-cost consultation if you are facing criminal charges in Berks or the surrounding counties.