Today, I represented a client In Berks County Court on Burglary, Conspiracy and Theft charges. Client’s family came to our firm over a year after charges had been filed and as Client continued to languish in Berks County Prison. The plea offer obtained by prior counsel had been for 3 to 6 years in state prison – a standard offer based on client’s prior record and the sentencing guidelines for the top charge. However, it was my hope to bargain for something more favorable for my client.
This young man had a non-violent background and his legal issues stemmed directly from a history of substance abuse. He clearly needs some help so that he does not reoffend once he is eventually released. With this in mind, I began plea negotiations with the Assistant District Attorney. He soon amended the charges and reduced the minimum to 2 1/2 years, although I hoped to do even better.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has a program for non-violent offenders known as RRRI (Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive) or “Triple R-I” program. The program consists of intensive treatment and rehabilitation including a large component of drug and alcohol treatment. By participating in the program an offender can reduce his minimum sentence by either 3/4 or 5/6 depending on the length of sentence. Based on my client’s background this is something he sorely needed. Unfortunately, he was statutorily ineligible due to a 7 year old Simple Assault conviction.
Through continued negotiation I was eventually able to convince the ADA to waive the eligibility requirements. The Judge agreed as well, and the client was made eligible for the RRRI program. This functions to reduce his RRRI minimum from 30 months down to 22 1/2 months and also give him the Drug and Alcohol treatment that he greatly needs and desires. With 14 months of credit time my client has a little over 8 months until he hits his minimum. Ultimately, it will be up to my client to do well on the program and maintain sobriety. Hopefully, this negotiated sentence will give him the opportunity to do so.
If you or a loved one is facing a lengthy state prison sentence please contact our office to discuss the options. You may be eligible for an alternative program such as RRRI, State Intermediate Punishment, County Intermediate Punishment, Boot Camp, Drug Treatment Court, DUI Treatment Court, Berks County’s Mental Health Treatment Court or Veteran’s Court. Our attorneys are skilled in negotiating alternative sentences and help you avoid lengthy state prison sentences. Please call our Reading, PA law office to schedule a free consultation.