It is a program offered by some state criminal systems to give offenders a second chance and avoid criminal charges. They are generally included under the group of pre-trial intervention programs known as diversionary programs.
Eligible persons who are charged with a crime can usually get the charges dismissed upon successful completion of the probationary period (usually 1-2 years). This allows the person to avoid normal legal penalties like criminal fines and jail sentences.
These programs also save the courts time and resources. They are often abbreviated as “AR” for short, and can go by various names in different states.
Accelerated Rehabilitation is usually issued according to the type of crime that was committed. For example, AR programs can involve the following measures:
- For drug or alcohol offenders: mandatory substance abuse education and monitoring
- For DUI and vehicle code violations: mandatory traffic courses and random blood alcohol testing
- For juvenile offenders: community service and/or letters of apology
Thus, an AR program can involve a mix of different measures that are aimed at the specific type of conduct involved in the criminal charge. Usually, there are set programs for each type of offense, but a judge often has discretion to impose other requirements as necessary.
Accelerated rehabilitation is usually reserved for crimes and violations that are “not of a serious nature”. This typically means misdemeanors and non-violent offenses. Some additional eligibility requirements may include:
- No prior criminal record (i.e., first-time offender)
- No history of previous participation in an AR program
- Has not been charged as a “youthful offender” within 5 years prior to the current charges
- Has not been previously convicted for certain drug crimes, violent felonies, or family law violations
In most cases, a person is only eligible for accelerated rehabilitation if they have a completely clean criminal record. However, in some cases a judge may still grant AR if the person has only a limited criminal record consisting of a few minor charges or infractions.
Also, these programs usually involve the payment of a fee. This fee can sometimes be waived in cases of extreme hardship, or the judge may allow the person to perform community service in lieu of the fee.
Finally, if the person fails to complete the requirements for the program, it will result in the original criminal penalties being re-imposed (i.e., jail time or criminal fees). Thus, it generally recommended that the offender work with a lawyer prior to and during the AR program, to ensure that they are fulfilling all the requirements.
Accelerated Rehabilitation may or may not be available to you, depending on the nature of the offense and the laws in your area. If you need assistance with accelerated rehabilitation, it is in your best interest to hire a criminal lawyer. Your lawyer can discuss your options with you, and can also assist you during the AR program so that you complete all the requirements.