Am I Eligible for a Diversion Program in Philadelphia?

Of the adverse outcomes that could potentially come with criminal charges, the creation of a criminal record is arguably the worst. A criminal record in and of itself warrants repercussions that extend far beyond legal penalties and into a person's post-conviction life. With a record oftentimes comes severely limited career prospects, ineligibility for some government programs, reduced chances of acceptance into colleges and universities, and in some cases, less constitutional rights. It's evident that the barriers created by a criminal record in society, known as collateral consequences, make staying out of legal trouble much more difficult going forward. The good news is that charges for a criminal offense don't have to be the end of the road.

In Philadelphia, diversion programs are a saving grace for defendants who qualify. They are essentially a form of sentencing that allows criminal offenders to avoid a criminal record. Diversion programs are run by either a district attorney's office, the court, the police department, or an outside entity. If a program is successfully completed, charges may be dropped or lessened, while the failure to complete one may result in re-sentencing or heightened penalties. The most common diversion programs available 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

Diversion Program Eligibility Requirements

Each diversion program has different requirements that defendants must meet in order to join.

ARD Program

The ARD program is a pretrial intervention program that is solely extended to first-time non-violent criminal offenders. There are some conditions that will make an applicant ineligible right of the bat, like prior criminal convictions, a case involving an injury, previous accusations of domestic violence and sex crimes, and the presence of a minor child as a passenger during an arrest.

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. It costs $200 to join. However, candidates who've acquired charges that involve cruelty to animals, criminal mischief, or deadly weapons may not apply.

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. AMP I only accepts non-violent first-time offenders charged with misdemeanor crimes. AMP II, however, accepts non-violent offenders with a “limited” criminal history.

Drug Treatment Court

Deemed as an intensive program, drug treatment court covers four phases over the course of a year. Each phase represents a step toward sobriety. If a defendant is granted entry into the program they will undergo mandatory drug and alcohol treatment programs, regular urine screenings, monthly progress listings, and routine meetings with case managers. Defendants accepted into this program are typically non-violent drug or drug-related offenders with no more than any two previous non-violent adult convictions.

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.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade 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 Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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