What Is The ARD Program In PA?

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in Pennsylvania offers non-violent first-time offenders an option for expungement of the charges brought against them upon successful completion of rehabilitation and supervision. The idea is to find defendants that are good candidates for rehabilitation and treatment and speed up the process, rather than have the case go through the criminal justice system and unnecessarily spend state resources.

Defendants must apply to the program, agree to certain conditions, and go through a maximum supervision period of two years. Most defendants in the ARD program in Pennsylvania, around 90%, were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

ARD Program in Pennsylvania

 

What is it?

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program is a type of pre-trial intervention program in Pennsylvania. Only non-violent offenders who have no or little prior record are eligible.

The goal of the program is two-fold; rehabilitation for the offender and saving state resources by eliminating the costs of trial and other court proceedings while speeding up the process. As such, for a defendant to have their case considered for the ARD program, they waive their right to a preliminary trial.

Goal of the Program

The main goal is that early intervention through the program can help prevent a repeat offense. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania approved this unique program for the state of Pennsylvania to promptly remove cases from the criminal justice system for certain offenders and better utilize state resources when rehabilitation is a better option.

As such, the program is intended to promptly resolve charges brought against persons that are a good candidate for rehabilitation.

Who Qualifies for the ARD Program in PA?

Potential applicants to the ARD program must be first-time offenders with no prior criminal convictions in the past ten years, subject to some exceptions. They also cannot have prior ARD dispositions from going through the ARD program already. Whether someone is successfully admitted to the ARD program in Pennsylvania is ultimately up to the District Attorney, who has broad discretion in this decision.

Defendants charged with a DUI are ineligible under some circumstances. These include:

  • Defendants with prior DUI convictions or ARD dispositions in the past 10 years.
  • Someone was killed or seriously injured due to the defendant’s actions that led to the current charges for a DUI.
  • A person of the age 14 years or younger was in the motor vehicle when the defendant was driving under the influence.

 

Applying to the ARD Program in PA

 

Applications and the District Attorney’s Office

Defendants that want to participate in the ARD Program need to submit a written application to the District Attorney’s Office within 30 days of the preliminary hearing.

As it is managed entirely by the Office of the District Attorney, the decision as to who is admitted to the program lies with the District Attorney. The District Attorney has broad discretion over who is successfully admitted to the ARD program.

Even if the defendant is not excluded from eligibility for the program due to prior convictions or other aggravating circumstances, there is no guarantee for admittance. All facts and circumstances contained in the defendant’s application are considered by the District Attorney in determining if an applicant is admitted.

What Applicants Should Expect

Defendants will need to agree to stipulated conditions to obtain acceptance into the program. This may include restitution, participation in a drug and alcohol abuse program, and community service. Other parties involved with the defendant’s case, such as police officers and any victims, will have a chance to comment on the defendant’s ARD application prior to approval.

The defendant does not need to admit to wrongdoing to apply to the ARD program. However, the defendant must plead guilty to any summary offenses, which often include motor vehicle violations. The court may assess costs and assessments for this.

Usually defendants applying to the ARD program seek help from legal counsel to prepare the ARD application and to assist with the admission process. Legal counsel can also assist in determining if applying to the ARD program is best given the individual’s circumstances.

What Happens if the Defendant is Not Accepted to the ARD program

If the defendant’s application to the ARD program is not successful, then the case will proceed to trial.

When a Defendant is in the Program

Once in the ARD program, the defendant is under a period of supervision that is like probation. The maximum period of supervision under the ARD program is two years. During this time, the defendant will undergo drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment and likely complete community service.

If they fail to comply with the stipulations for their admittance into the ARD program, then they will be removed from the program and a case scheduled for the charges brought against them.

After Completing the ARD Program

Defendants that successfully complete the ARD program can, after 30 days of successful completion, petition the court to have the original charges dismissed and for the case to be expunged, or sealed from public records.

However, if the offender does not successfully complete the program or violates its terms, then they will be removed from the ARD program. The case for the original charges will be added back to the court docket for trial. In essence, the charges are only temporarily suspended for the term of the program.

Risks and Benefits of the ARD Program

In addition to possible expungement, a defendant that successfully completes the ARD program will not have a criminal conviction for the crime in which charges were brought. If it involves a motor vehicle, which typically is the case since most ARD program candidates involve DUIs, then the defendant will have a shorter period of driving restrictions than a convicted DUI offender. Moreover, successful applicants in the ARD program can answer “no” on job applications to questions that ask whether they have been convicted of a crime.

A risk about the ARD program is primarily what happens if the defendant later repeats the same offense. The ARD disposition will then be treated as a conviction for purposes of charges brought for the second related offense. If they are convicted for that second offense, then it will count as a “second strike.” This is important when it comes to sentencing and can mean that the defendant is now facing increased mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment.

Are you a Candidate for the ARD Program in PA?

If you are being charged with a DUI and have no prior convictions, then you may want to consider applying to the ARD program. However, you should speak with an attorney to determine the specifics of your situation and whether this is the best option for you.

To find out if you are eligible for participation in the ARD program in Pennsylvania, if you should apply to the ARD program, and how legal counsel can assist with the application process, fill out our contact form. One of our attorneys will review your information and get back to you about your case.

DiCindio Law, LLC opens newly renovated West Chester Office

DiCindio Law, LLC opens newly renovated West Chester Office building.

Located in downtown West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania and built in 1900 – the firm’s building has undergone a top to bottom renovation/restoration with the idea of preserving and repairing the building to the beauty it once was and providing Mike’s client’s with a comfortable and accessible office location and atmosphere.

Mike DiCindio looks forward to continuing to serve his current and future client’s for years to come at this new location.

West Chester Criminal Lawyer and West Chester Personal Injury Lawyer

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What do I do when I am charged with a DUI

One of the first things that people call and ask is, “What do I do when I am charged  with a DUI”

The crime of Driving Under the Influence or “DUI” is likely the most commonly charged crime in Pennsylvania. With law enforcement targeting DUI offenders – people from all walks of life are being arrested and prosecuted.

Anyone who is arrested and charged with a DUI is going to have concerns about what they will be facing moving forward. Will I go to jail? How much is this going to cost? Will my employer find out? How long will I lose my license for? All of these are normal concerns of a first offender or of someone who has prior driving under the influence convictions or arrest. Further, not only are these normal . . . they are questions that are important for you to have answers to. Some things you can do.

1. Write down as much as you can about what you remember from the evening of the arrest. When determining what the best course of action or litigation strategy is for your case every detail may matter and may impact your case or the way in which your criminal defense lawyer proceeds. Nothing is insignificant.

2. Contact and hire an attorney. DUI cases may be common but they still impact your livelihood, reputation, finances and liberty. Now is the time to find an attorney who you trust to protect your interests and defend you in your case. There are no guarantees in criminal law.  Now is the time that you need to have your questions answered and understand what the different potential outcomes may be. While a strategy should be put in place quickly it is important to still understand that we as criminal defense lawyers do not always have all the information needed immeidately in order to properly decide how is best to proceed this early on.

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense - Conspiracy Cases

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney

3. Ask questions. There is no question that you have that shouldn’t be asked. This is a significant event for you and the outcome very well may impact you in some manner for the remainder of your life. You do not want to look back in a few years and question what you did and/or why you didn’t do something with your case. No attorney worth hiring will make you uncomfortable or be bothered by your questions. Some things to think about:

a. Cost
b. Punishment
c. Trial issues
d. Time Frames/Length of the case
e. Pre-Trial Motions
f. Diversionary Courts/First Offender Programs and options
g. Things you can begin to do to help your case

These are just a few of the many things that you should be thinking about and doing when you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a DUI. If you have any questions or are facing DUI charges call Mike DiCindio directly today.

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The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes to the law that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments or the most complete legal issues for all cases These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester

Credit for Time Served in Inpatient Facilities – DUI Cases

Credit for Time Served In Inpatient Facilities – DUI Cases

When someone has been arrested and is pending trial there are decisions that need to be made based upon the needs of the person and the strategy of the case.  Some of these decisions will be made by the individual and others may be made or dictated to them by the Judge.  One of the decisions is whether or not someone needs to be placed into an inpatient rehabilitation facility in order to address a substance abuse issue.  Most often, this arises out of DUI or driving under the influence / driving while impaired cases.

Voluntary treatment is treated differently than Court ordered treatment

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney

What is important to know is that when someone is placed into inpatient as a condition of bail in lieu of pre-trial incarceration they are entitled to have that time spent in inpatient count against any jail sentence they may be later sentenced to. Commonwealth v. Cozzone, 593 A. 2d 860 (Pa. Super. 1991).  Alternatively, if someone voluntarily gone to inpatient on their own accord it may be credited towards their sentence but only if the sentencing Judge, in his/her discretion decides to grant the credit.

The lesson to take from this is that when someone is in the criminal system, facing incarceration and ends up in an inpatient rehabilitation for any reason – his attorney must evaluate any arguments about credit for time spent in rehab that may be available to the client in order to potentially limit the about of time in prison that ultimately must be served.

If you or a loved one needs representation on any criminal matter – contact Mike DiCindio, Esq. directly.


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.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others 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

Chester County Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP)

In our culture today one of the most common criminal charges, one that fills county dockets across state of Pennsylvania, is Driving Under the Influence (DUI). While many first-time offenders may be eligible for the ARD program (read more by clicking the link) there are many times where this is not offered or an individual is not eligible – possibly due to the facts and circumstances surrounding the DUI charge, possibly because of a prior criminal offenses or possibly it is not a first offense driving on the influence charge for the accused. In all of these cases, individuals who have been charged with a Driving Under the Influence / DUI offense face the potential of harsh mandatory incarceration sentences, potential supervision and conditions.

Mike DiCindio West Chester, PA Attorney

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer

In these circumstances in Chester County, the Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP) is set up in a manner that allows first, second and potentially third offense Driving Under the Influence / DUI offenders to apply and, if deemed eligible and accepted by the court, receive a much less harsh imprisonment sentence mixed with electronic home confinement and community service.

While this Chester County Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP)  does not reduce the potential license suspension in these matters, it is a beneficial program when there are no legal arguments of merit that can be viewed as likely to win the case either before or at trial. In these matters, a skilled criminal lawyer may recommend this as the most beneficial potential outcome for a client.

It should be noted, in Chester County there are more offenses that may be eligible for the IPP program – still, the vast majority are DUI and DUI related suspension matters.

To read more about the IPP program or to see Chester County’s IPP chart go to the Chester County IPP website or contact DiCindio Law, LLC to speak to Mike DiCindio about your case today.


 

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.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. 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

 

 

I finished the ARD program, is my expungement finished too?

Many people who are charged with first offense DUI cases are accepted into the ARD program in the county in which they were arrested. While they may be aware of it, often times upon completion of the program, these individuals do not proceed to have the records expunged. In turn, they are left with records of their DUI arrest and entry into the ARD program on their criminal record. A successful expungement would erase that, leaving only limited agencies who are permitted to retain them.

Common occurrences – individuals either believe that the records of their ARD participation and completion were automatically expunged, or they believe their previous attorney expunged it for them. When often times neither is the case.

When Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney

An expungement should be filed on DUI / ARD cases that are successfully completed.

The expungement procedure/process involves filing required documents, a petition and a proposed order with the Court. As a part of the proposed order, a list of agencies and departments is included. Usually including all of the Courts involved in the case, the central repository, the police departments involved and any other agencies that may have access to the records or case information. If the expungement is granted by the Court, the agencies will be sent the certified order and will be directed to expunge the records. (In some counties the clerk of courts sends the orders, in others the individual or his/her attorney does).   Depending on the Court dockets, the number of petitions submitted, and the procedure of the county in which the petition is filed, expungement orders may take many months to be presented to the Court and signed.  Making it crucial to prepare and file the expungement quickly after successful completion of the ARD program.

Expungement of an DUI ARD is something that should be taken seriously and followed through on. Any chance someone has to clear their criminal history of arrests or prosecutions will be beneficial to them in their future searches for employment, housing and many other vital portions of their life.

If you have an outstanding DUI ARD case that has yet to be expunged. Contact West Chester criminal lawyer Michael DiCindio to discuss your options today.


 

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.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael 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.