In my experience, getting ARD for felony drug charges does not happen very often. In the few cases in which I have seen clients get ARD, the decision of the DA was not based upon the fact that he/she wanted to be nice and considered the lack of a prior criminal record or the fact that a conviction would hurt the person's ability to obtain future employment. Generally, the DA is only lenient if there are weaknesses in the case against you. For example, I worked on a felony Possession With Intent to Deliver Cocaine case in York in which the client received ARD. In the case, the district judge had failed to sign the search warrant, so the defense had an incredible issue to seek suppression of the cocaine and thereby obtain a dismissal of the charges. The DA offered ARD in that case to avoid having us push the suppression issue. I primarily practice in central Pennsylvania and do not venture into Tioga County or that area, but most rural counties are very strict on felony drug cases. With regard to avoiding jail time, that also is dependent upon the strengths/weaknesses of your case, the drug and quantity involved, and whether any mandatory minimum sentences may apply. You should contact a criminal defense attorney in your area as they have probably handled similar cases to yours in the past and can give you an idea of what can be done to better your situation. I wish you the best of luck.
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