General Structure

The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecuting criminal offenses that occur in Montgomery County, and represents the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in all related criminal matters. The office is staffed by attorneys, Detectives, investigators, analysts and related support personnel.

Appellate Division
The Appellate Division handles all appeals filed in criminal cases, including pre-trial appeals, post-sentence appeals and challenges to the constitutionality of statutes. In addition, the Division handles all Post-Conviction Relief Act and Federal Habeas Corpus petitions. Attorneys compile and file briefs in support of the Commonwealth, and present oral arguments before the various appellate state Courts.

Juvenile Division
The Juvenile Unit prosecutes all crimes in Montgomery County that are committed by young offenders. These offenses include, but are not limited to, drug trafficking, robbery, burglary, assault, theft and sexual offenses. Assistant District Attorneys work closely with local law enforcement agencies in an effort to combat juvenile crime, facilitate the rehabilitation of youthful offenders and promote restorative justice for victims. In furtherance of these goals, the District Attorney’s Office also maintains Youth Aid Panels throughout the County, which provide unique rehabilitation opportunities for juvenile offenders.

Trials Division
Accelerated Rehabilitative Development (ARD)
The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (“ARD”) Program is supervised by the ARD Captain, who reviews criminal cases for potential admission. ARD is a unique program, approved by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, for first-time offenders who have no prior criminal convictions or prior ARD dispositions. The primary purpose of the ARD program is the prompt disposition of charges, eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming trials and other court proceedings. The program is designed to recognize those offenders who are amenable to treatment and rehabilitation, and effectively remove their cases from the criminal justice system, thereby freeing resources better utilized elsewhere.

Generally, individuals wishing to be placed into the ARD program must submit a written application to the District Attorney’s Office within 30 days of the preliminary hearing. Generally, an individual must waive their preliminary hearing and formal arraignment to receive ARD. All parties involved with the case (i.e., police; victim(s)) then have the opportunity to comment upon the application. If approved, the applicant is normally placed on probation, ordered to pay fines and costs, and complete community service. Successful applicants are admitted into the ARD program by a Common Pleas Judge.

Upon successful completion of the ARD program, the applicant may petition the court to expunge their record. All cases are examined on an individual basis. ARD is a discretionary program managed exclusively by the Office of the District Attorney; therefore, the District Attorney is the sole authority as to who is approved for the ARD program. All facts and circumstances regarding the case are taken into account when reviewing an ARD application. Questions may be directed to the ARD Unit at
610-278-3110.

Domestic Violence
The Domestic Violent Unit prosecutes criminal cases involving violence committed by family members and domestic partners. Offenses include physical assault, sexual assault, stalking, threats and other acts of harassment. Unit personnel work closely with the Women's Center, Laurel House, the Victims' Services Center of Montgomery County and other agencies to help victims of domestic violence find support.

Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”)
The DUI Unit aggressively prosecutes all cases assigned to the County’s DUI Court. Assistant District Attorneys within this Unit work closely with both patrol officers and laboratory toxicologists to ensure the best possible evidence and case outcome.

Economic Crimes
The Economic Crimes Unit investigates and prosecutes significant and sophisticated financial crimes committed within Montgomery County, including identity theft, embezzlement, counterfeit check schemes, deceptive business practices, forgery, bank fraud, and related theft offenses. Assistant District Attorneys participate in regional efforts to combat white-collar crime through information sharing and collaborative investigations, including task force participation.

Elder Abuse
The Elder Abuse Unit was established as an aggressive prosecutorial response to the general increase in crimes committed against elders. The Unit both investigates and prosecutes crimes which target and victimize the senior residents of Montgomery County, including physical and sexual assaults, neglect, theft and financial exploitation. Assistant District Attorneys provide training to police and prosecutors on the investigation and prosecution of these crimes, and serves as a resource for educational outreach to senior citizens to provide advice and information about how they can avoid being victimized. Attorneys also provide training to the community-at-large about how to identify and report signs of abuse. The Unit works with agencies and community groups throughout the Commonwealth to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who prey upon senior citizens.

The Elder Abuse Unit actively participates in the Elder Justice Roundtable and supervises the Elder Abuse Task Force, a multi-disciplinary committee of law enforcement personnel and county agencies which are charged with protecting our senior residents. The Task Force coordinates efforts, identifies areas for training, and reviews individual cases of potential elder abuse. Personnel work with geriatric and forensic specialists, the Montgomery County Bar Association, victim advocacy groups, and others in the community to avail itself of all possible County resources. Call 1-800-734-2020, or use our online Crime Reporting Form to report elder abuse.

Extradition
The Extradition Unit works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement officials to identify and locate criminal offenders residing in other states that fled Pennsylvania to avoid apprehension. The Unit uses all available resources to return these wanted fugitives back to Montgomery County so they can be prosecuted and held accountable for their actions. The Extradition Unit can be reached at 610-278-3689.

Firearms
The Firearms Unit investigates and prosecutes cases involving the illegal transfer, possession and use of firearms in Montgomery County. These cases often involve narcotics trafficking and violent crimes including homicide, robbery and assault. Assistant District Attorneys assigned to this unit are specially trained to prosecute firearms cases. In addition, each attorney is specifically designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, allowing for prosecution in federal court, where the penalties against habitual, violent offenders who possess illegal guns are often more severe. The Unit actively participates in the Safe Neighborhoods Project and coordinates with state and other law enforcement agencies that address illegal firearms such as the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Grand Jury
Pursuant to Pennsylvania law, the Investigating Grand Jury is overseen by an Assistant District Attorney and the Court of Common Pleas. The Grand Jury is exclusively comprised of Montgomery County citizens, each of whom serves for a term of eighteen to twenty-four months.
The Grand Jury uses unique investigative powers to compel the testimony of uncooperative witnesses, as well as the production of documents and other evidence. Investigations include serious crimes committed within Montgomery County, including homicide, narcotics trafficking, fraud, and sexual assaults. The Grand Jury also investigates abuse of power, including corruption in public and government-related organizations.

Insurance Fraud /Arson
The Insurance Fraud / Arson Unit investigates and prosecutes individuals who attempt to defraud insurance companies located in Montgomery County, as well as those cases related to the intentional use of fire or other explosive devices. Unit personnel routinely work with fire officials and insurance company investigators from the inception of these complex investigations through arrest, conviction and sentencing. The Unit is primarily funded the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority Local Law Enforcement Grant Program.

Major Crimes
The Major Crimes Unit manages the investigation and prosecution of serious crimes, including homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, and burglary. Assistant District Attorneys are expected to handle a large number, and wide variety of cases. They are responsible for case review, pre-trial evidentiary hearings, witness preparation, and obtaining convictions, whether by plea or trial before a judge or jury.

Narcotics
The Narcotics Unit investigates and prosecutes all types of criminal offenses regarding controlled substance, including trafficking, delivery and possession-related offenses. Assistant District Attorneys manage cases resulting from traditional investigative techniques, as well as complex wiretap investigations that target the sophisticated distribution of illegal drugs within Montgomery County by corrupt organizations located elsewhere. Unit personnel work alongside officers from the District Attorney's county-wide Municipal Drug Task Force.

Public Corruption
The Public Corruption Unit investigates and prosecutes criminal cases involving abuses of power, should they occur within Montgomery County. The Unit investigates all types of corruption in public and government-related organizations. This unit utilizes the full power of the District Attorney’s Office to investigate corruption, including the Investigating Grand Jury, immunity, informants and wiretaps. The Unit also provides intelligence gathering and strategic crime analysis to other County Detective Investigative Units, including Homicide, N.E.T., Forensics and Major Crimes.

Sex Offenses
The Sex Crimes Unit investigates and prosecutes cases involving sexual assault, including related internet/computer crimes that target children, Assistant District Attorneys work closely with investigators from each municipal police jurisdictions in Montgomery County, as well as the Montgomery County Detectives’ Bureau and the Office of Children and Youth Services to employ vertical prosecution in sexual assault cases.

Vertical prosecution requires that an Assistant District Attorney is assigned to prosecute either shortly before, or immediately following, a defendant’s arrest. Thereafter, that attorney is exclusively responsible for handling every aspect of the case, from the preliminary hearing through trial and sentencing. The prosecutor becomes completely familiar with the case, allowing for the most effective prosecution while minimizing trauma to the victims of these sensitive crimes.

Elder Abuse Unit
District Attorney Ferman established the Elder Abuse Unit in an effort to aggressively respond to the increase in crimes against elders coming into the criminal justice system. The Unit investigates and prosecutes crimes which target and victimize the senior residents of Montgomery County including physical and sexual assaults, neglect, theft and financial exploitation. Unit personnel train both police and prosecutors concerning investigation and prosecution of these crimes, and serves as a resource for educational outreach to senior citizens to provide advice and information about how they can avoid being victimized. Training is also provided to the community regarding how to identify and report signs of abuse. The Unit works with geriatric and forensic specialists, the Montgomery County Bar Association, victim advocacy groups, and others to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who prey upon senior citizens.

Elder Abuse Unit personnel also actively participate in the Elder Justice Roundtable and supervise the Elder Abuse Task Force, a multi-disciplinary committee comprised of law enforcement personnel and county agencies which are charged with protecting our senior residents, including Montgomery County Aging and Adult Services. The Task Force coordinates efforts, identifies areas for training, and reviews individual cases of potential elder abuse. Call 1-800-734-2020 to contact the Elder Abuse Hotline.

Pre-Trials Division
The Pre-Trials Division generally consists of newly-hired Assistant District Attorneys, each of whom handles a wide variety of criminal matters, including probation violation, summary appeal, habeas corpus and preliminary hearings. Assistant District Attorneys coordinate with other Office Divisions and law enforcement officials to ensure that the strongest case possible is presented in court.