Community Accountability Program (CAP)
The Bucks County CAP program is designed to serve the needs of victims, defendants and the community by providing a localized alternative to the criminal justice system at the municipal level. The CAP program engages community volunteers, representatives of local government, treatment professionals and law enforcement in seeking remedies to the harm caused by criminal behavior, holding first-time offenders accountable for minor criminal infractions with the opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction.
The CAP program maintains representatives from the Office of the Bucks County District Attorney, Adult Probation and Parole and a Police Liaison Office, as well as panels comprised of volunteers who are residents or business persons within the municipality of the panel.
The panel will primarily hear cases that meet the following criteria:
- The defendant has committed an act that is a violation of Pennsylvania law or a local ordinance (excluding traffic violations), including certain misdemeanor or summary offenses within Bucks County.
- The defendant does not dispute the facts as described in the criminal complaint or non-traffic citation, and admits to the criminal conduct.
- It is the opinion of the arresting officer, police liaison officer and/or District Attorney representative that the defendant will benefit from a disposition outside of the criminal court system.
- The defendant has no prior criminal convictions or additional open criminal matters. If the defendant incurs additional criminal charges while under the jurisdiction of the panel, the defendant will be expelled from the program and their case will proceed through the county criminal justice system.
- The defendant waives their right to a speedy trial pursuant to Rule 600
- If directed, the defendant may be required to undergo a Risk Assessment Evaluation
- If the defendant successfully completes the panel program and subsequently incurs new criminal charges, they will be precluded from entering into any other county diversionary program (such as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (A.R.D.) ).
While the Community Accountability Panel functions outside of the formal criminal justice process, victims' rights remain central to the operations of the panel. Victims have the right to provide input and request restitution during the Community Accountability Panel process.
For more information regarding the Bucks County Community Accountability Program, please email Deputy District Attorney Monica W. Furber or call 215-348-6297.