Q: My son who is 15, has just been arrested for retail theft. This is a first-time offense. Do I need a lawyer for this case? Can he be referred to the ARD program? (South Side, Pittsburgh)
A: ARD is an adult criminal court alternative to prosecution. While there is no alternative disposition called “ARD” in juvenile court, there are similar programs for first time juvenile offenders who qualify. One is where they divert the case to a juvenile probation program, sometimes called an intake disposition. The other is a “consent decree” whereby if the juvenile successfully completes probation with conditions, he or she is not adjudicated delinquent.