What is “Accelerated Rehabilitation”?
Accelerated Rehabilitation, or “AR” is what I often call the “get out of jail free card” in
Connecticut, to refer back to the game of monopoly. Somewhat like monopoly, developing and executing a defense in the criminal courts in Connecticut certainly entails some degree of chance. Pretrial Diversionary Programs, like AR, largely remove the uncertainty of litigation and trial and put the defendant’s destiny in his or her own hands.
Are You Eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitation?
Only certain defendants are eligible to be admitted into the AR program. The Statute (Connecticut General Statute Section 54-56e) defines precisely what defendants are eligible or not and should be consulted to be certain about eligibility. In general however, to be eligible for AR the defendant must be charged with a crime (or motor vehicle violation) for which a sentence of imprisonment could be imposed, which is not an A or B felony, and which is also not certain delineated sex offenses, drug and alcohol offenses, or offenses for which another pretrial diversionary program is more suitable. A defendant charged with a class C felony can be admitted into AR only where good cause is shown to the satisfaction of the judge.
How does it Work?
Admission into Accelerated Rehabilitation involves a two-step process. First, the defendant must make an application for the program. The application is a standard from that is available online and at every criminal courthouse in the state. You can access it here. Fill out the pertinent portions and present the application the judge in open court when your case is called by the prosecutor. The defendant is put under oath and confirms that they understand the basic nature of the AR program, as described on the application. The court then continues the case for a number of weeks so that the court can do a background check on the defendant to ensure eligibility. On the defendant’s next court date he or she goes before the judge and argues as to why he or she is a suitable candidate for the AR program.
In order to admit a defendant into AR, a judge must find that the crime(s) charged are not of so serious a nature as to preclude the defendant from using the program and the defendant is unlikely to offend again in the future. Of course, those two factors should guide the defendant’s argument to the judge about why they should get into AR.
What Does the Defendant Have to do to Complete AR?
Whatever the judge tells the defendant to do! While there are no set requirements of the AR program, except to have no further arrests while the case is pending, the admitting judge could impose certain requirements. Common requirements imposed by judges include restitution if there is a victim with out-of-pocket losses, community service, or drug and/or alcohol evaluation and treatment. The defendant’s destiny is now in his or her hands. If the defendant successfully completes the requirements (if any) the court requires of him or her, and successfully completes the program, the case will be dismissed and documentation of the arrest erased. However, if the defendant fails to complete the program requirements or has further arrests during the pendency of the case, the AR program can be terminated and the case returned to active prosecution.