What Is ARD?
ARD is short for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition and is primarily reserved for first-time offenders of following crimes:
It is offered in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Westmoreland County, and other counties around the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
What Do You Need To Know About ARD?
ARD is considered a diversionary program, meaning it is designed to divert you from the statutorily mandated penalties that come with each of the crimes listed above. Specifically, ARD is generally used to avoid hefty fines, long probations, or spending time in the local county jail. It generally requires you to complete a series of programs or classes and receive medical assessments based on your charges. For example, someone charged with simple assault may have to complete anger management assessments and classes while on ARD.
If you successfully complete your ARD, your charges will be withdrawn, and you will have an opportunity to have to permanent record expunged of that charge.
How Do You Receive ARD?
Your eligibility for ARD depends on the specific facts surrounding your offense. In most instances, anyone who is a first-time offender of the crimes laid out above should be eligible for ARD. However, there are several exceptions to that general statement and you should not assume your are ARD eligible just because this is your first DUI, Theft, or Simple Assault charge. For example, you are not ARD eligible as a first-time offender if:
- While driving under the influence of alcohol, you were involved in an accident that injured someone.
- You are charged with Theft of an item that exceeds $10,000.
- The victim of your alleged simple assault objects to your admission into the ARD program.
It is ultimately the decision of the Assistant District Attorney assigned to your case. This is one step in the process where an Attorney is very important.
What If You Are Accepted Into ARD?
If you are accepted into the ARD Program, consider yourself lucky. But, do not assume that just because you are on the ARD Program that you can ignore the Court Orders. You must pay attention to the rule and requirements that the Court sets. Your completion of ARD and withdrawal of the charges will depend on your completion of the Court’s Orders. For example, ARD may require you to:
- Pay Fine
- Attend Treatment Programs
- Refrain from committing any further crimes while on the ARD Program
- Complete Community Service hours
Failure to complete all ARD requirements will result in an ARD Violation.
What Happens If You Do Not Complete Your ARD?
Failing to complete your ARD may come in various forms. You may fail to pay your files and court costs associated with your ARD. Or, you may violate the perimeters of your probation. If that happens, you have violated your ARD. If you violate your ARD, your ARD privileges will be revoked and you will be sent back to stand trial for your charges. This will expose you to all statutory fines, penalties, and jail time associated with your charges.
Are There Any Reasons Not To Ask For ARD?
Yes, this is another step in the process where having an attorney in very important. Just because you are a first time offender does not mean you should simply ask for/ accept ARD and go on your way. At your Preliminary Hearing, you will have an opportunity to fight the charges against you. For example, you may be able to show that the officer did not have probable cause to charge you with your DUI. If you just ask the District Attorney for ARD, you are waiving your defenses.
It is better to have your charges thrown out and your record expunged, than attend a series of court mandated classes, pay some fines, serve probation, and then asking for your record to be expunged.
What Should You Do Next?
If you have been charged with a crime, and you are considering your options for ARD, contact my office at (412) 209-0657 and ask for Matthew Becker. I offer immediate free consultations with free parking. I will sit down with you, discuss your case and options, and work with you to receive the best possible result.