Arrested for Being in a Bar Fight? How Can You Avoid Jail Time?
It can happen in an instant. You are having a beer with friends and a fight starts. Before you know it, you’re in the middle of the fracas. Police arrive and you are taken into custody, charged with assault, facing fines and even jail time. It may be the first time you’ve ever been arrested, and you are worried that you’ll end up in jail. You fear that a jail term could lead to the loss of your job. What are your options?
Voluntary Participation in Counseling
In a criminal case, the prosecutor has a certain amount of leeway, based in part on the seriousness of the crime, your criminal record, and your willingness to participate in rehabilitative programs. Pennsylvania has a special pre-trial intervention program called “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition,” where a defendant may participate in counseling or other court-approved programs and ultimately have the case dismissed and the record expunged. Unfortunately, the ARD program is generally limited to non-violent offenders with no prior record or a limited criminal record.
Nonetheless, if it’s your first charge and you can show that your involvement was “in the heat of the moment,” you may be able to avoid jail time by participating in voluntarily counseling, such as anger management classes or even one-on-one therapy with a professional counselor. In addition to participation in educational programs, the court may order community service, and may require that you make restitution of any material losses to the victim.
Even if the court sentences you to a period of incarceration, under the right circumstances you can get the court to subject you to house arrest, where you may only leave your house to go to work or to permissible appointments. In such instances, you may be put on an electronic tether, a device you must wear that identifies where you are.
Contact the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss, Jr.
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