Designed for first-time, non-violent offenders, the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) in Pennsylvania is an option for defendants to expunge their charges after they have successfully completed rehabilitation, treatment, and supervision.
About 90 percent of the ARD defendants in Pennsylvania were arrested for drunk driving or a controlled substance. ARD cases account for 30 percent of probation caseloads, with 95 percent of participants completing the program.
Here is more detailed information and what to know about the ARD program in Pennsylvania.
What is ARD and What are the Goals?
The ARD program is based on the idea of finding defendants who are good candidates for rehabilitation to speed up the legal process and save state funds, instead of going through the criminal justice system. Think of it as a type of pre-trial intervention program in Pennsylvania.
Here is what is required to be approved as a candidate for ARD:
- The prosecutor must recommend it, and the defendant must submit a written application within 30 days of the preliminary hearing.
- The victims of the crime must be told about it.
- The judge must approve it.
- The defendants must agree to all conditions of the treatment, including a maximum supervision time of two years and waiving their right to a preliminary trial.
The main goal: This early intervention program will prevent a repeat defense.
What is Involved in Applying for ARD
Not only do you need to agree to the conditions required by the ARD program, which could include restitution, successfully completing a drug and alcohol abuse program, and community service, but you also need to meet the approval of those involved with your case, such as law enforcement and any victims of the crime.
It is best for those charged with a non-violent crime and who wish to apply for the ARD program in Pennsylvania to seek help from legal counsel to assist with the complicated ARD application and admission process.
To apply for ARD, the defendant:
- Does not need to admit to any wrongdoing
- Must plead guilty to summary offenses, such as traffic violations
Who Does Not Qualify for ARD?
Defendants may not be qualified to enter the ARD rehabilitation program in Pennsylvania for reasons that include:
- The defendant’s DUI charges involve someone killed or seriously injured.
- The defendant has had prior DUI convictions or ARD dispositions in the last 10 years.
- A passenger age 14 or younger was in the vehicle when the defendant was charged with DUI.
If the defendant’s application to the ARD program is denied, their case will proceed to trial.
The Next Step to ARD Success in Pennsylvania
If you are a non-violent offender who has successfully completed the ARD program can, after 30 days, petition the court to have the original charges dismissed and the case expunged and sealed from public records.
Before that can happen, however, an experienced DUI defense attorney in Pennsylvania can sit down with you to talk through the specifics of your case to figure out if ARD is the best option for you.