ARD and Diversionary Programs
The law legislatures realize that people make mistakes that sometimes turn into criminal offenses or arrests. Sometimes they are solely mistakes and other times they are a product of a deeper, underlying issue – be it addiction or mental/psychological disorders. In these situations, ARD and diversionary programs, are often times available to an offender who has never been in trouble before, or who has a drug addiction or mental health condition that is relevant to the criminal offense the individual is charged with. While not always eligible as a right, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help to get you the privilege of participation in one of the relevant programs when appropriate. Often times, with successful completion of these programs, the charges will be dismissed and one will be eligible to expungement of the arrest and records of it.
Diversionary programs are available in West Chester, Chester County for many different circumstances and criminal offenses. DUI or drunk driving offenses, drug charges or even other potentially more serious criminal offenses, depending on the situation, the criminal offender and his/her background and circumstances and the programs available in the count that the offense was committed in. Still, while someone may or may not be eligible at first look, a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer is able to analyze the criminal offenders circumstances and that of how the crime was committed and communicate and negotiate effectively with the prosecution or argue to a judge that a diversionary program would be appropriate.
One of the most common diversionary programs in Chester County, as well as all others in Pennsylvania, is the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or the “ARD” program. This is typically reserved for first time non-violent offenders and first time DUI or drunk driving offenders. The program will have a combination of, but not limited to, community service, probation, treatment conditions, and in the case of a DUI or drunk driving offense, a much shorter license suspension than normally would accompany a conviction for DUI. For a person charged with his/her first criminal offense, or first offense DUI or drunk driving, this program offers an opportunity to have the criminal charge withdrawn upon completion and the records relating to the criminal arrest and charge expunged.
ARD and diversionary programs like Drug Court, Mental Health Court, Veteran’s Court, and more depending on the county, must be considered when one is charged with a crime. A seasoned criminal defense attorney will be able to analyze your specific situation, determine if you are eligible for a diversionary program and communicate with the prosecution in order to have you admitted or to show why you would be a good candidate.
The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. Please contact DiCindio Law for a consultation and to discuss what law is relevant to your case.
Mike DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale as well as in Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County, Bucks County and Berks County.