Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program
If you have a friend who has been charged with a DUI or a minor drug possession offense, you might have heard of the ARD program. ARD might be a good option for you if you are currently facing a minor drug or a DUI charge.
To help you evaluate whether participating in the ARD might be a good choice for you, the experienced legal team at DiCindio Law has compiled information about this program and what it entails below.
What Is ARD Program In Pennsylvania?
The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program or ARD is a program offered by all counties in Pennsylvania for people who have very limited or no criminal records and are facing non-violent and minor charges.
Under, the purpose of ARD is to offer low-level offenders the chance to make a fresh start after participating. Successful completion of the program allows you to avoid a criminal record. If you are accepted by ARD, the case against you will be on hold.
During this time, you will have certain court-imposed requirements that you will have to complete. If you do not complete all of the requirements by the end of the period, the case against you will resume. If you do complete them, you will be notified that your case is eligible to be dismissed and removed from your record.
This can help you to avoid others from seeing your case when they perform public records checks. If you are facing a minor drug offense, participating in ARD can help you to avoid having your driver’s license suspended.
Requirements Of ARD In Chester County, PA
Participating in ARD means that you will have to complete the program’s requirements within the specified period. Starting on the date that the judge places you in the program, you will be supervised by the adult probation office. Supervision through ARD cannot last longer than two years. Typically, most ARD programs will last for one year.
While you are being supervised, you will not be on probation since you haven’t been found guilty. However, the probation office will check to make sure that you are completing the various program requirements.
Your specific requirements will depend on the specific charge you are facing. However, some of the typical requirements include the following:
- Completion of community service
- In DUI cases, completion of an alcohol driving class
- Completion of drug and alcohol counseling for drug offenses or high-alcohol content DUIs
- Driver’s license suspension in DUI cases
- No use of alcohol or non-prescription drugs
- Payment of the fees for ARD supervision and prosecution costs, which will be a few thousand dollars
- Restitution if any property damage occurred
- Waiver of your right to a speedy trial
- Avoid any new criminal charges while on ARD supervision
How Are People Accepted By The ARD Program?
When you meet with your attorney at DiCindio Law, your lawyer can assess your case to determine whether you might be eligible for ARD. While all counties are required to offer ARD, the admissions criteria vary.
The District Attorney’s office in your county will decide whether your case is ARD-eligible. Having an experienced attorney in the county where you are facing charges is important since you will want a lawyer who is familiar with the local requirements.
Your lawyer will ask you for some information and help you to complete the ARD application in your county. Your application will then be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office by your preliminary hearing date. Your attorney will attach a cover letter with your application to explain why you should be approved for ARD.
At your preliminary hearing, your attorney will talk to the charging police officer and try to alleviate any concerns that the officer might have about your placement in ARD. Your attorney will also talk to the assistant prosecutor who is assigned to learn what he or she thinks about your eligibility for ARD.
If an agreement is reached to recommend you for ARD, you will have to waive your right to have the preliminary hearing. If your charge is a DUI, you will have to submit to an evaluation to determine whether you have a substance abuse problem and whether you will need to complete drug and alcohol counseling if you are approved for ARD.
Following your preliminary hearing date, the District Attorney’s Office will review your application and decide whether or not to approve you for ARD. If your application is approved, the court will order your enrollment into the program at your next court appearance.
Is ARD The Right Choice In Chester County, PA?
ARD is the right choice for many people. The program offers multiple benefits. If you successfully complete all of the requirements, the court will dismiss your case. You will then be allowed to apply for expungement to remove all court records removed from your public record. This can be helpful when you are applying for jobs since prospective employers will not see the case that was expunged.
If you are facing your first criminal charge, and it is fairly minor, it is often the best choice for you to choose ARD. The program can shorten the driver’s license suspension period, reduce the fines that you might have to pay, and help you to avoid spending time in jail. However, there are exceptions. Depending on your circumstances, ARD might not be the best way for you to resolve your charges.
Your attorney will help you to understand whether you should pursue ARD in your case. For example, if you have been charged with a DUI and have a commercial driver’s license, ARD might not be appropriate because it could still harm your career.
Talk To An Experienced Attorney
Now that you know what is the ARD program in Pennsylvania, you should schedule a consultation with an attorney at DiCindio Law. We can answer any questions you might have and help you to understand whether ARD might be a good choice or if other options should be explored. Call us today at (610) 430-3535 to learn more.