What Is Accelerated Rehabilitation (AR) and Can I Use it to Avoid a Conviction in Connecticut?

If you are charged with a crime in Connecticut, you might be able to avoid a criminal conviction through a program known as Accelerated Rehabilitation, commonly referred to as "AR." The authority for the AR program is Connecticut General Statute Section 54-56e. Here is a summary overview of the AR program.

AR is a pretrial diversionary program available to certain certain criminal defendants arrested for some crimes in Connecticut. If you successfully completes the AR program, the criminal charges against you would be dismissed and there would no criminal conviction on your record. I think of AR as a recognition of this reality: sometimes good people are accused of doing stupid things – or sometimes good people do stupid things – but that doesn't mean they should necessarily suffer the consequences of a criminal conviction.

If you decide to apply for AR, the process requires two stages and usually two more court appearances (and sometimes more). Stage one when you apply for the program; and stage two when the Judge decides whether to grant or deny your application.

Here are the typical steps in the two-stage AR application process:

    Stage One

  1. fill out and sign the official AR application form;
  2. file the signed application in open court when the case is called;
  3. you answer the court's questions under oath regarding the application and get a date to return to court;
  4. after court, you pay the the application fee (currently $35) at the clerk's window;
  5. then meet with Court Support Services Division (CSSD) to provide your identifying information so it can run a background and record check to verify the accuracy of your application;
  6. send a notice of your AR application to the complainant or victim (if any).
  7. Stage Two

  8. appear in court and present the merits of your application to persuade the Judge to grant your application. This is when an experienced criminal defense lawyer can be of great assistance. The victim can also address the court to give his or her opinion as to whether the court should grant the program. You or your lawyer has to persuade the court that (a) you will probably NOT offend again in the future; (b) the offenses charged are not so serious as to make granting your application a mistake; and (c) you have no previous convictions for any crime or certain motor vehicle offenses and have never used the AR program before. The victim's input would be considered on issues (a) and (b).

If the court grants the application, you then pay the program participation fee (currently $100) and are then monitored by the CSSD for the period of time set by the court (up to a maximum of two years) for compliance with the conditions of your AR, which always includes – at a minimum – no arrests for other criminal or serious motor vehicle offenses. If you comply with the conditions and successfully complete the period of diversionary probation, then the charges against you would be dismissed.

Please note: this is just a summary and overview of the AR program and application process. There are certain crimes that are not eligible for participation. Also, certain things in one's background if not adequately explained could result in a denial of the application. While a person does not need a lawyer to get the AR program, an experienced Connecticut criminal defense lawyer can often be the difference between getting AR or not. One quick example: sometimes a criminal defense attorney can persuade a prosecutor to reduce the charges so as to make someone eligible to apply for the program.

If you have been accused or arrested for a crime or motor vehicle offense in Connecticut or need assistance and representation with regard to an application for accelerated rehabilitation for a Connecticut criminal or motor vehicle charge, please call or email.

Attorney Ron Murphy has been defending people accused of serious crimes and motor vehicle offenses since 1983. For more information on his background as a Connecticut criminal defense lawyer, click here for his bio.