PITTSBURGH EARLY DISPOSITION PROGRAM (EDP) ATTORNEY
If you have a criminal case that has originated out of Pittsburgh Municipal Court, you may receive an Early Disposition Program offer, known as an EDP offer. The EDP program applies only to cases out of Pittsburgh Municipal Court and is designed to provide favorable plea offers to those facing certain types of misdemeanor or felony charges out of Pittsburgh Municipal Court.
You should be extremely cautious and careful when it comes to reviewing an EDP offer, and making the decision to accept or reject the offer. You will only receive an EDP offer at the preliminary hearing, so if you reject the offer, you will not receive a similar offer in the future. On the other hand, an EDP offer may not be a good offer on the case at all.
If you have received an EDP offer and don’t know what to do, it is best to seek a continuance of your preliminary hearing to retain legal counsel to assist you in reviewing the offer to determine whether it is in fact a good offer given the facts of your case along with your personal background.
HOW DOES THE EDP PROGRAM WORK?
On the morning of your preliminary hearing, if your case qualifies, you will receive an EDP offer upon checking in for the morning. You’ll be provided with a written offer along with a copy of the police report or criminal complaint to review.
If you accept the EDP offer, you will complete a guilty plea colloquy where you will waive various constitutional rights, including your right to have a trial or file pretrial motions. You will then waive your right to have a preliminary hearing, and your guilty plea hearing will be held sometime later that day. If you reject the EDP offer, then the plea offer is null and void, and your case will progress through the system like any other case.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO AN EDP OFFER?
The major benefit to an EDP offer is being able to resolve a case quickly without going through the entire criminal case process. Additionally, an EDP offer may involved reduced sentences, house arrest and alternative housing options that may not be available if the offer is rejected.
DO I NEED A LAWYER FOR MY EDP CASE?
Yes. When you receive your EDP offer, don’t be surprised if you are pressured by court staff or your arresting officer to take the offer and fill out your guilty plea paperwork as soon as possible. Bear in mind, their goal is to close out criminal cases quickly. Your attorney’s goal is to make sure you get the best possible resolution of your case. You should not accept or reject an EDP offer without the guidance and representation of an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer.
An EDP offer is not the right move for everyone depending on the circumstances. You may have a good trial or suppression issue on your case, may be able to negotiate an even better offer, or may benefit from a delay in the resolution of your case.
MANY EDP OFFERS ARE NOT GOOD PLEA OFFERS!
Our office has received numerous calls from individuals who represented themselves on EDP cases and regret the decision because they didn’t understand the consequences. Although the program is designed to provide favorable offers, in many cases, taking an EDP offer is the wrong move. Our office has successfully represented numerous individuals who received and rejected EDP offers, only to receive a better offer during the negotiations process.
This is a small list of real-life examples of bad EDP offers that were not worth taking, showing the importance of having experienced legal counsel to review your options before making a decision:
Bad Offer #1 - From Criminal Record to No Record: Client charged with M3 Furnishing Alcohol to Minors offense was offered a guilty plea which would have left her with a permanent criminal record. Additionally, she would have lost her driving privileges for 6-months. Our attorneys rejected the offer and negotiated a new offer for the client to complete 15 hours of community service for a complete withdrawal of the charges.
Bad Offer #2 - From Criminal Record to Summary Plea and Record Expungement: Client charged with M2 Resisting Arrest offered short probationary period. Client had no prior criminal record, and would have a permanent criminal record if he took the deal. New deal reached where client plead guilty to summary disorderly conduct, making client eligible to get the M2 Resisting Arrest charge expunged.
Bad Offer #3 - From Loss of License & Job to No License Suspension: Client with prior criminal record charged with misdemeanor Possession of a Controlled Substance, offered short probationary period. Guilty plea would have caused client to lose his license for 6 months, and his job as a result. New deal negotiated for guilty plea to Drug Paraphernalia offense, eliminating license suspension and helping to save his job.
Bad Offer #4 - From Jail Time to Alternative Housing: Client with extensive criminal record offered plea to 11.5-23 months of jail time on felony Possession with Intent to Deliver. Subsequent negotiations occurred, where agreement modified to let client serve sentence at alternative housing facility.
Bad Offer #5 - Client Represented Himself and Lost License & Job: Caller called office asking to get his license reinstated after pleading guilty to drug possession. Denied the drugs were his, but took a plea to get his case over with. Nobody informed him he would lose his license, and he lost his job as a result. It was too late for our office to help him.
THE ZUCKERMAN LAW FIRM CAN HELP YOU NAVIGATE THE EDP SYSTEM TO MAKE THE CORRECT CHOICE
If you’re facing a criminal case out of Pittsburgh Municipal Court and have received an EDP offer, contact the Zuckerman Law Firm at 412-447-5580 today. Attorney Zuckerman is familiar with the EDP court process and has represented numerous clients who have both accepted and rejected EDP offers on their cases. For a free consultation, call 412-447-5580 today.