You have what is commonly referred to as an arrest record. Entry into the ARD Program requires you to waive federal and state constitutional rights to a speedy trial. The judge, by way of admitting you to the ARD Program, orders the District Attorney to postpone further prosecution of your case during your term in the ARD Program. Acceptance of ARD Probation is neither a conviction nor an acquittal of your criminal charge(s). Therefore, a record check through the Pennsylvania State Police will reveal the criminal charge(s) and the disposition as “unreported.”
Yes, but you may be denied by the Pennsylvania State Police through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System. The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas has no provision for or against the purchase or ownership of a firearm while on ARD Probation. Once your criminal record is expunged, you should be not be denied the purchase of a firearm by the Pennsylvania State Police.
No, you will not receive notification that your record is expunged. Expungements are done automatically, and the full expungement occurs within 9-12 months of your expiration date, provided all conditions of your ARD probation have been satisfied. This includes full payment of Court costs.
Probation officers work seven days a week and may conduct a field visit to your residence, work site, or treatment facility at any time. Individuals may also be required to report to the probation office in person.
All individuals under supervision are subject to random urine screening. The Court may also order regular urine screening on a case-by-case basis.
All individuals under supervision are provided with a copy of the general rules of supervision. The Court may also add specific stipulations on a case-by-case basis. All individuals are expected to abide by the general rules of supervision and any Court imposed stipulations during the period of supervision.
An arrest while under supervision is considered a violation and may lead to a probation detainer in the Allegheny County Jail. Individuals convicted of a new crime while under supervision may be returned to Court and face revocation, which could lead to additional periods of supervision and/or incarceration.
Rule violations are considered technical violations of supervision. Based on the frequency and/or severity of the rule(s) violation, sanctions ranging from verbal admonishment to revocation and incarceration may be imposed.
Per statute, individuals placed on county supervision are required to pay a monthy supervision fee, unless that fee is waived by the Court. See 18 P.S §11.1102.
Individuals are required to advise their probation officer of their whereabouts at all times while under supervision. Generally, relocation within Allegheny County is permitted without restraint, but you must immediately advise your probation officer of your new address. You may not move out of Allegheny County without the prior approval of your probation officer.
Generally, the answer is yes. However, there are federal guidelines that must be met before leaving Pennsylvania. Individuals are not to leave Pennsylvania without written permission from the probation officer.
Bail is the security used to guarantee an individual’s appearance in Court.
- Nominal/Release on Own Recognizance (R.O.R.): This is when a person is released from jail without having to put up any cash or other form of security in order to guarantee their appearance in Court.
- Percentage Cash Bail: This form of bail requires the deposit of ten percent (10%) of the face amount of the bond (ex. $5,000 @ 10% = $500). Real estate property, as well as bondsmen and professional surety companies, may be used to post this type of bail.
- Straight or Cash Bail: Requires the posting of the full amount of the face value of the bond (ex. a $5,000 straight bond requires the posting of $5,000 using one of the approved methods by which bond may be posted).
- Non-Monetary: This is similar to R.O.R. but allows for the imposition of pretrial conditions. For example, the completion of a drug and alcohol assessment.
- Nominal Bail: Release conditioned upon the defendant’s depositing a nominal amount of cash which the bail authority determines is sufficient security for the defendant’s release, such as $1.00, and the agreement of a designated person, organization, or bail agency to act as surety for the defendant.
Some of the criteria used in the setting of bail are:
- The nature of the offense charged
- Prior criminal history
- Length of residence in Allegheny County/community ties
- History of prior appearances in Court (bond forfeitures)
- Whether or not the individual poses a threat to the safety of the community
Unless specified by the Court, bail may be posted in one of several ways:
- Real estate property (for information on how to post property contact Pretrial Services (412.350.4732)
- Private bondsman or professional surety company
- Negotiable securities or bearer bonds (please contact the Allegheny County Department of Court Records Office at 412.350.6065 to determine whether or not a security or bearer bond is acceptable)
With the exception of certain cases, bail is typically set at the time of the preliminary arraignment, shortly after the defendant’s arrest.
No. The posting of bonds is the responsibility of private individuals and professional bondsmen or surety companies.
Contact a private attorney or the Office of the Public Defender, 542 Forbes Avenue, Suite 400, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, telephone number 412.350.2401 to determine if the individual you are inquiring about is eligible for a bail reduction or modification.
No. A bail modification proceeding is a service provided free of charge by Pretrial Services, however, a private attorney, in most instances, will charge a fee if he or she is present at a bail hearing.
Only once, unless some significant change occurs with regard to the charges, or an attorney files a written petition seeking reconsideration of bail.
The Department of Court Records office refunds bail money upon the completion of the case. For refund information call 412.350.3227.
Contact your attorney (if you have retained one) and Pretrial Services’ Bail Unit IMMEDIATELY at 412.350.4732. Pretrial Services offers a walk-in service to have some types of bonds reinstated the same day. To access this service, you must report to Pretrial Services, 564 Fourth Avenue, 4th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, by 8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. This process may take up to four hours. The walk-in service does not address arrest warrants issued by Magisterial District Judges, probation violation warrants, or Family Division warrants.
Upon an individual’s arrest due to a bench warrant, the individual is lodged in the Allegheny County Jail and Pretrial Services is notified. Pretrial Services will interview the defendant, complete a bail recommendation for consideration by the Court, and contact the Court to schedule a bail review hearing within 72 hours. The defendant will remain lodged in the Allegheny County Jail until a subpoena is issued for the next court appearance.
Eligibility is determined on a case by case basis.
Defendants who are charged with serious crimes may be considered for Pretrial Electronic Monitoring. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Candidates for admittance to the program will have their cases presented before a Common Pleas Criminal Division Motions Court Judge. The judge will make the decision whether or not the individual will be placed on electronic monitoring.
Yes. Fees vary based on an individual’s income and are determined by the Electronic Monitoring Program. Payments are made as outlined in a payment agreement. Also, a defendant may be required to pay transportation costs.
It is the decision of the sentencing judge whether time served on Pretrial Electronic Monitoring is credited towards any sentence that might be imposed.
An attorney must complete and submit the Bail Review Request Form to the Pretrial Services Bail Unit. A response to the bail review form will be faxed or emailed, or a phone call will be made to the requesting attorney within three (3) business days of receipt of the completed form.
In this case, there are two options. You can turn yourself in to the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office and you will be interviewed by the Pretrial Bail Investigator at the Allegheny County Jail, or you can report to the Pretrial Services Office (4th Floor, Manor Building, 564 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219) by 9:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, to be interviewed and processed through Motions Court the same day.
Some criteria used in determining bail amount and type are:
- The nature of the offense charged and any mitigating or aggravating factors that may bear upon the likelihood of conviction and possible penalty;
- The defendant’s employment status and history, and financial conditions;
- The nature of the defendant’s family relationships;
- The length and nature of the defendant’s residence in the community, and any past residences;
- The defendant’s age, character, reputation, mental condition, and whether addicted to alcohol or drugs;
- If the defendant has previously been released on bail, whether he or she appeared as required and complied with the conditions of the bail bond;
- Whether the defendant has any record of flight to avoid arrest or prosecution, or of escape or attempted escape;
- The defendant’s prior criminal record;
- Any use of false identification; and
- Any other factors relevant to whether the defendant will appear as required and comply with the conditions of the bail bond.
Behavior Assessments are ordered by either a Magisterial District Judge or a Common Pleas Judge when there is a question regarding the defendant’s mental competency to continue with the legal process. If the Behavior Assessment Unit Psychiatrist does not clear the defendant, the defendant will not be released to attend any further Court proceedings until he/she is cleared.
If the evaluation is ordered Monday through Friday, the defendant will be seen by a psychiatrist within 48 hours. If the evaluation is ordered on the weekend, the defendant will be seen within 72 hours. Once the evaluation is completed and the defendant has been declared competent, he/she will be released from jail after all other matters holding them have been cleared, i.e. bond and/or detainer(s).
You may contact your local hospital for a referral. Mercy Behavioral Health and Western Psychiatric Institute have mental health and drug and alcohol treatment programs. You may also call the Behavior Assessment Unit (412.350.2560) for referral information.
Domestic Violence Court (DVC) is a specialized docket for domestic violence (DV) cases. Individuals with multiple active DV cases, those with a prior criminal history/conviction of DV related offenses, and those who have violated a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order with the same victim are earmarked for this specialty court. DVC utilizes a variety of supervision techniques to monitor individuals, impose accountability for actions, and ensure compliance.
When sentenced, you will be made aware of the conditions of probation. Standard conditions include participation and successful completion of the batterers’ intervention program (BIP), no victim contact or no violent victim contact, drug and alcohol evaluation/treatment, mental health evaluation/treatment, and random drug screens. This list is not exhaustive, and additional conditions may be imposed at the discretion of the presiding judge. Following sentencing into DVC, an initial review hearing will be scheduled within 45 days from the date of the sentence.
If the initial review is positive, all future reviews will be scheduled at the discretion of the probation officer (PO). If the initial hearing is negative, another hearing will be scheduled to swiftly correct the non-compliant behavior. If you remain in compliance throughout supervision, further compliance reviews will not be required; however, the PO can ask for a review hearing at any time if deemed necessary or at the request of the judge.
If you are arrested during non-working hours, holidays or weekends for new assaultive offenses, other violent offenses, or contact with the victim, you may be detained by the on-call probation supervisor. If arrested for new assaultive offenses, other violent offenses, or contact with the victim during regular working hours (8:30AM -4:30PM), a detainer may be authorized by the supervising PO or DVC supervisor. Detainers may also be issued in agreement with the presiding judge.
The length of this program is dependent on compliance and sentencing guidelines. If you remain in compliance and complete required treatment, you may be eligible for early termination of your sentence. This is determined on a case-by-case basis and must include the permission of the victim to terminate probation early. Your case will not be expunged from your record regardless of DVC outcome.
While in DVC, you are required to complete BIP classes offered by one of four community partners.
- Women’s Center and Shelter
- 412-687-8017, ext. 340
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- PERSAD Center
- 412-441-9786 ext. 218
- Email: BIP@persadcenter.org
- Email: email@example.com
- Wesley Family Services
- Email: BIP@WFSPA.org
A “Drug Court” as defined by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals is “a special court given the responsibility to handle cases involving drug-addicted offenders through an extensive supervision and treatment program.” Drug courts represent a non-traditional approach to prosecute offenders who are addicted to drugs. Rather than focusing only on the crimes they commit and the punishments they receive, drug courts attempt to solve some of their underlying problems.
Drug courts are built upon a partnership between the criminal justice system and the treatment community. This collaboration results in a drug court team that structures treatment, community supervision, and intervention in order to break the cycle of drug abuse and associated criminal activity. Drug court participants undergo long-term treatment and counseling, sanctions, incentives, random testing for drugs and alcohol and frequent court appearances. Although drug courts vary from one jurisdiction to another in terms of structure, scope, and target populations, they all usually share three primary goals: (1) to reduce recidivism, (2) to reduce substance abuse among participants, and (3) to rehabilitate participants.
The Drug Court assessment process is a team-oriented approach designed to take place on the front end of the court system. An offender wishing to participate in the Allegheny County Drug Court program should through, his or her attorney discuss the option with the ADA Trial Attorney for a referral to Drug Court. The Office of the District Attorney can also identify cases suitable for Drug Court disposition at the pre-trial screening stage of the criminal proceedings. In addition, Probation Officers can also refer defendants by contacting the Probation Drug Court Coordinator.
What is the next step?
There is a multi-step screening process for a candidate to be accepted into Drug Court. First, the trial District Attorney will review the sentencing guidelines to make sure the candidate meets the eligibility requirements as required by law. In addition, the Office of the District Attorney will assess your prior criminal record, your current charges and geographical information prior to scheduling a plea date. Once the Office of the District Attorney schedules a plea date your information will be forwarded to the Drug Court Probation Team. Next you will be required to undergo an Electronic Monitoring/Drug Court screening (including review of rules and regulations) and an evaluation from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) that determines the level of care for substance abuse treatment. This assessment will assist the Drug Court Team in identifying your risk/needs giving the Drug Court Team the ability to make sound decisions regarding drug and alcohol counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy and an overall supervision strategy. After these assessments are completed the Drug Court Team will be able to:
- Make appropriate referrals to contracted providers
- Assist participant in supplemental services
- Input all data into computer system
- Arrange any services indicated by the ASAM
Yes. The Allegheny County Drug Court is a post-disposition program. By entering a plea prior to Drug Court participation you are accepting responsibility and accountability for your actions. You will also receive information needed to overcome patterns of substance abuse or addiction that has caused you to become involved with the criminal court system rather than a punitive sentence of incarceration.
All Drug Court participants will be under court supervision for up to three years through a combination probation with restrictive conditions. However, sentences can be extended, if needed, to complete the program. Incentives also exist to reduce the period of supervision.
Participants who do not successfully complete the program or who opt out before successful completion may be sentenced to the mandatory sentence under the law and will be subject to probation violation proceedings.
You must be granted Pretrial Electronic Monitoring by a judge. Once Pretrial Services receives the Court order, an interview is conducted. The defendant must agree to comply with all rules and regulations set forth by the Allegheny County Adult Probation Electronic Monitoring Program and Pretrial Services to be placed on the program.
The screening process is started once the EM referral is made by the Court. If the individual is residing in the community, the standard time for installation on EM is one week. For individuals incarcerated in the Allegheny County Jail, the standard time is within 48 hours once the individual has been cleared for release.
EM fees are based on an individual’s current income and ability to pay. Fee levels start at $1.50 per day. On average, most individuals pay $5 per day. All individuals have the option of establishing a payment plan. Individuals are not turned away due to an inability to pay.
The range of EM equipment varies based on a number of factors. Individuals are not to leave their residence unless authorized to do so by the probation officer.
The supervising judge and probation officer will determine if an individual is permitted to leave his or her residence. Generally, individuals are permitted to leave their residence for work, school, religious services, and medical appointments.
Per statute, certain individuals are prohibited from serving a sentence on EM. See 42 Pa.C.S.A § 9801 “Eligible Offender.”
The interlock system is $1,300.00 for an entire year, or $3.83 per day. Additional fees may be added for positive breath samples. Payments can be made in bi-monthly or monthly installments. The first month rental and installation fee is $175.00. Bi-monthly payments are $200.00, and monthly payments are $115.00. The de-installation fee at the end of the program is $75.00.
No, PennDOT will not restore and issue an Ignition Interlock license before the Interlock is installed. After the Interlock is installed, documents are forwarded to PennDOT via the Department of Court Records, then the restoration process begins. It takes approximately ten (10) working days to receive your Interlock license in the mail.
No, the year with the Ignition Interlock starts from the date PennDOT issues the ignition interlock license.
With some license suspensions for DUI, Pennsylvania law requires that in order for an offender’s license to be restored, he/she must certify the dates of all time spent incarcerated as a part of his/her mandatory sentence (Act 151), provide proof of required treatment (Act 122), which includes completing the Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation, Alcohol Highway Safety School (if required), and complete payment of all court costs, restitution, and fines that are owed. Specific questions regarding a driver’s license suspension or reinstatement can be addressed by calling the Allegheny County Ignition Interlock Program at 412.350.6107 or 412.350.6109.
Yes. Pennsylvania DUI Law requires that any individual, 18 years of age and older, must undergo the Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation process for each and every DUI that is incurred. There are no exceptions to this rule. The evaluation must take place in the County where the DUI arrest occurred.
There are four Alcohol Highway Safety Schools that are located regionally throughout Allegheny County. You will be assigned to a school based on your Zip Code. Court Reporting Network (CRN) staff is responsible for providing you with the name, address, and phone number of your assigned program.
Generally speaking, cases come in to MHC by a guilty plea before the MHC Judge. The Judge will go over the rules and expectations of MHC during your plea, and will impose an appropriate sentence. Your individualized Service Plan will be made part of your sentence. You are expected to comply with all aspects of your sentence, Service Plan, and MHC supervision. If you do not want to follow the Service Plan or work with JRS, you cannot be in Mental Health Court and your case will go through the regular Court of Common Pleas.
This is dependent on individual progress, your charges and criminal history, and your MHC sentence. A rule of thumb with MHC is that if you have been doing extremely well under the Service Plan over the majority of your sentence, you may be recommended to graduate.
However, if you pleaded into MHC on serious charges (such as arson, assault or robbery, among others), were charged with new and additional criminal cases, or were noncompliant with the Service Plan or additional court ordersfor a portion of your supervision, the Court may choose to have you serve most or all of your sentence.
No. You can discuss your concerns with your JRS Specialist and with the Court, but the decision of what medications and dosages are prescribed remains with the mental health professional who has been overseeing your care.
Mental Health Court is a treatment court, and as such advocates for ongoing mental health treatment. Although you, for example, may have completed intensive outpatient care, JRS and the Court will advocate that you step down to the next level of care, such as regular outpatient or individual therapy. You must remain in treatment during your entire time in MHC, and you must comply with the level of treatment recommended to you by your treatment provider.
Because Mental Health Court is treatment-focused court, the Judge may ask JRS to reassess you for a higher level of care, or for you to step up your current drug and alcohol treatment to a more intensive level with your provider. Depending on your situation and amount of use, this may be inpatient treatment or a more intensive level of outpatient. If the Court feels your use poses a danger to yourself or if your continued use constitutes major noncompliance, the Judge may issue a warrant for you to be lodged in the jail while awaiting reassessment for treatment.
No. You must reside in Allegheny County during the duration of your time in Mental Health Court. Permission to move out of county must be approved by probation and the Court.
You may discuss this with your probation officer. There is a lengthy process you must undergo to be considered for an interstate probation transfer, and the transfer must be approved by the Mental Health Court judge, Pennsylvania, and the receiving state.
Choosing to withdraw from MHC carries certain consequences which should be discussed with your attorney. Withdrawal from the court often results in resentencing which may include incarceration. Additionally, participants who withdraw from MHC are generally excluded from re-entering the program at a later date