The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program is a pre-trial program available to first-time non-violent offenders. If a defendant completes the terms of an ARD program, they can have their criminal record expunged. ARD is not a conviction. ARD is in an alternative to incarceration. Successful participation in the ARD program can help a defendant avoid a criminal record for certain non-violent offenses like DUI and drug possession.
ARD in Pennsylvania
The ARD program is available for a number of offenses in Pennsylvania. However, among the most common offenses available for ARD are drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs. Available ARD offenses include:
- First-offense DUI (not involving serious injury or death and not with a child under 14 in the car)
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Drug possession
- Retail theft
- Petty theft
- Other low-level, non-violent offenses for people with no or minimal prior criminal record
After the preliminary hearing the defendant should file the ARD application with the District Attorney's (DA's) office for consideration under the ARD program. The DA has discretion whether to allow a defendant to participate in the ARD program.
If accepted, the defendant will be notified of the ARD Court Day and all obligations to be completed for acceptance into the ARD program. If all obligations are completed before ARD Day, then one usually receives six (6) months non-reporting probation. Failure to complete the ARD obligations could result in denial from the ARD program, at which point, one's case would be placed back on the Trial list.
Pennsylvania ARD Program
In place of jail time, the ARD program generally consists of a probationary period and mandatory conditions. The terms of the program may depend on the offense, the defendant, and other relevant factors. The term of ARD probation is generally from 1-year to 2-years. However, if all obligations are completed before ARD Day, then one usually receives six (6) months non-reporting probation. ARD may also include:
- Mandatory Alcohol Highway Safety School (DUI school)
- Mandatory license suspension for drug or alcohol offenses
- Fines and court costs
- Drug and alcohol screening program evaluation (CRN Evaluation) and participation in drug/alcohol treatment as required
- Community Service
- No other run-ins with the law during the probationary period
After all ARD obligations are completed and the probationary period is completed, one can petition to court to expunge their record.
ARD or Go to Trial
Participation in the ARD program can be beneficial for a number of people, especially young people who have made a mistake, for employment, and even going to school, College. However, it is not for everyone. Depending on the facts of your case, you may have a good chance of winning with pretrial motions or at trial. After your arrest, before talking to Police, and before deciding anything, contact the David J. Cohen Law Firm, LLC, to discuss your options and what may be the best choice for you.
Pottstown ARD Representation
An arrest for a DUI or minor drug offense does not have to end in a criminal conviction. Successful completion of an ARD program for first-time offenders can get the criminal charges expunged from your record. ARD is not a conviction. Criminal defense attorney David J. Cohen is devoted to representing the people of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas. Contact the David J. Cohen Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation.