Q. I was charged with writing bad checks. I paid the checks. At the primarily hearing, the DA would not reduce the charges or dismiss. I have never been charged with anything in the past. My attorney wants me to go through the ARD program. It was 4 checks the first and the 4th were never deposited. As for the other two, I was at fault. The police officer would not even speak to my attorney. I feel like I did not get a fair hearing. Now, it will cost me more money that I don’t have. I am wondering if there is anything I can do to have charges dismissed. I can get letters stating I am a law abiding citizen that just make a stupid mistake. People who are real crooks get away with things where I who made a mistake and pay the extreme.

A. It is still a crime even if you pay the money back. The attorney may be communicating the only deal available which is Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). I will assume for the purposes of my answer that you have no defense for trial. Sometimes these cases can be worked out at the Preliminary Hearing for a dismissal if restitution is made. Apparently, that was not satisfactory to the police officer or the victim or the DA, or some or all of them. Now, it sounds like you have no other option but ARD. Be aware that ARD is discretionary with the DA and you have no right to it. I assume your case was held for court and now will be at the Common Pleas Court level. You still have a chance of getting a dismissal at that level with full restitution. Your attorney can ask again, but, if ARD is the only offer from the DA, that is your only option.

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