Downingtown's 28-year-old mayor was accepted Tuesday into a prison-alternative program for a drunken-driving offense.

Chester County First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carmody said Joshua A. Maxwell, a first-time, nonviolent offender, easily qualified for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program.

Under ARD, a state program whose guidelines vary from county to county, participants are promised a clean slate if they complete requirements such as community service and treatment programs.

Carmody said Maxwell's position as a government official had no bearing on the case.

"I wouldn't be permitted to take that into account even if I wanted to," Carmody said.

Maxwell's attorney, Dawson "Rich" Muth, agreed that his client should not have been treated differently.

"He made a mistake, and he's doing his best to put it behind him," said Muth Wednesday.

State police said Maxwell was pulled over at 2:10 a.m. Aug. 20 at a routine sobriety checkpoint on Route 322 in West Bradford Township.

Maxwell told a trooper "he had a few drinks earlier in the night" and then failed field sobriety tests, the criminal complaint said. A breath test given about an hour later revealed a blood-alcohol level of 0.10, the complaint said.

Maxwell became the youngest mayor in the history of Downingtown, a Chester County borough with about 7,900 residents, when he won election to the part-time post in 2009.

Downingtown's government is controlled primarily by its six-member Borough Council. The mayor, who oversees the Police Department and can cast a tie-breaking vote, serves mainly as a goodwill ambassador.

Contact staff writer Kathleen Brady Shea at 610-696-3815,, or @brandywinebits on Twitter. Read her blog, "Chester County Inbox," at