The consequences of being arrested and charged with a crime can last a lifetime. A criminal arrest and conviction, in addition to negatively impacting a person’s freedom and reputation, may permanently damage one’s opportunity for obtaining future gainful employment, higher education, loans, housing and even residency in the United States, to mention just a few of the possible negative outcomes. At the same time, the internet has made it easy for anyone — such as employers, banks, landlords, and college admissions officers — to pull up arrest records immediately.
If you are arrested, it is vitally important that you secure trained and experienced trial counsel as soon as possible so that all of your federal and state constitutional and legal rights are protected, and your chances for achieving a favorable outcome are maximized. Since the 1970’s, the lawyers at Charles Law Offices have zealously and effectively guarded the legal rights and interests of people arrested and charged with criminal offenses.
If you have been arrested, the lawyers at Charles Law Offices will protect all of your federal and state constitutional and legal rights throughout all stages of the criminal prosecution, including the preliminary arraignment and bail hearing before the magisterial district justice, the preliminary hearing, status conferences, the omnibus pretrial motion hearing, jury selection, trial by jury (or judge), and appeal, if necessary.
In specific cases, you may qualify for a special program known as “ARD” (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) that permits a first time offender to avoid being “convicted” of a criminal offense. Your criminal charges are dismissed and your criminal record may be erased — a legal process known as “expungement” — if you successfully finish the ARD program. Thus, the ARD program benefits first-time DUI or non-violent offenders, and is a desirable option to being convicted of a crime in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In DUI cases, a person who is accepted into the ARD program by the District Attorney’s Office will not be subject to the mandatory minimum jail term and motor vehicle license suspension that accompany a DUI criminal conviction. The ARD program, which can last up to 24 months in non-DUI cases, is managed by the District Attorney’s Office along with the probation office in the county where the alleged crime took place. Upon successful completion of the ARD program, your arrest record may qualify for expungement.
The trial lawyers at Charles Law Offices will check to see if you qualify for admission into the ARD program, assist in the preparation of the necessary paperwork for timely application into the ARD program, negotiate your admission into the ARD program with the District Attorney’s Office, attend the necessary court hearings, and secure expungement of your arrest record when you successfully finish the program.
ARD often is granted in Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substances (DUI/DWI) cases. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) was less than .10 at the time of the offense, your driver’s license will NOT be suspended if you are granted ARD. If your blood alcohol content was .10 or greater at the time of the offense, your driver’s license will be suspended, but for a period of time significantly less than that imposed following a DUI conviction. ARD may be denied to DUI defendants who had a minor child inside their motor vehicle when the offense took place. Also, ARD may be denied if the offense involved a serious motor vehicle accident. However, entry into the program is within the discretion of the District Attorney’s Office and is decided on a case-by-case basis.
Another common offense that results in ARD being granted is a Theft-related offense including, but not limited to, Writing Bad Checks, Receiving Stolen Property, Theft by Deception, and Retail Theft. Admission into the ARD program on a theft offense may hinge upon the value of the property stolen and whether the victim has been compensated or made whole.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with a lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the attorneys at Charles Law Offices.
The Charles Brothers’ devotion to the law is derived from a family history in the legal system and of service to others. Their father, Charles “Chink” Charles (depicted in the lower left-hand corner of the photograph) held a 35 year career in law enforcement, and was selected to serve as the personal bodyguard for former United States Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson during their campaign visits to Allentown.