What to Know About Bucks County’s Community Accountability Program (CAP)

If you, someone in your family, or a close friend has recently been accused of a first-time nonviolent offense, it’s worth learning about the advantages offered by Bucks County’s CAP. As a DUI and juvenile defense attorney serving Doylestown, PA, and surrounding areas, Keith J. Williams has been a vocal proponent of the Bucks County Community Accountability Program ever since its unveiling back in 2013.

The Community

Conceived to be more humane, and economical than simply jailing first-time offenders, the CAP ties defendants and communities together during the rehabilitation process. Made up of volunteers—none of whom are required to have studied law or criminal justice—the CAP calls upon the services of local communities, treatment specialists, and lawyers specialized in DUI and juvenile defense in Warminster, PA, and the greater Bucks County area.

The Defendants

The Bucks County CAP panel accepts defendants who have only committed their first-time nonviolent offense within the jurisdiction of Bucks County. By accepting defendants, the panel strives to rehabilitate and reintegrate, while rectifying the harm caused by the defendants. If eligible under Pennsylvania law, the defendant merely has to admit to criminal conduct and agree to participation in the 90-day CAP. Some of the applicable crimes covered by the CAP include criminal mischief; retail theft; possession of a smaller amount of marijuana; and underage drinking.

The Panel Itself

Being comprised of community residents, business owners from nearby municipalities, the panel totals six people. As per their own participation in the CAP, volunteers are required to be present at 75% of the hearings that are held. The purpose of the hearings themselves is to listen to defendants, address their own needs, as well as those of the community, while exploring possibilities for mentorship, personal growth, competency, and legal compliance.

The Benefits of the CAP

Unlike any other rehabilitation program in the state of Pennsylvania, the CAP brings about a favorable outcome both for defendants and local communities. By receiving the counsel of their neighbors and peers, defendants grow tremendously, constructively analyzing the context of their crimes and circumstances. Given the opportunity, defendants who follow through with the 90-day program, avoid incurring a criminal conviction and a permanent criminal record.

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