In Pennsylvania, lawmakers recognize that the best option for an offender is not always punitive. If you are facing certain charges, it may be in your best interest to undergo rehabilitation rather than punishment. At Ebner, Nevins & McAllister, we often assist people who qualify for the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program to avoid a criminal record.

According to the County of Berks, there are a number of offenses that allow the courts to redirect people into the ARD program:

  • Criminal mischief or trespass
  • Public drunkenness
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Harassment
  • Retail theft
  • Truancy

People facing alcohol- or drug-related charges may also apply, depending on the offense.

You will have to fill out an application and submit it to the Magisterial District Judge, who will then forward a copy of this to the District Attorney. The DA is the one who approves or denies applications and then notifies the MDJ, who will let you know whether your case will proceed through the criminal court or you will be admitted to the program.

One of the aspects of rehabilitation is completion of a program that addresses the particular offense you have been charged with. The following are a few examples of the programs participants may be required to attend:

  • Adult Probation Community Service
  • STOPLIFT Adult Shoplifting Intervention
  • Underage Drinking Program of Berks County
  • STOPLIFT Juvenile Shoplifting Intervention
  • Juvenile Probation Community Service

The DA may also approve another program choice if it is appropriate. You will be responsible for paying the costs of whatever program the DA refers you to. The MDJ will not dismiss your case until you have paid the costs and restitution related to your offense as well as the costs of the program.

More information about criminal charges is available on our webpage.