Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)

Contact Central Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney Lee S. Cohen today for your FREE CONSULTATION.

In 1972, the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania created a special program called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD. This program allows for the pre-trial disposition of certain cases where the district attorney agrees to suspend prosecution if a defendant successfully participates in a rehabilitative program. ARD is designed to rehabilitate criminal offenders, and to streamline the disposition of criminal charges so that defendants have the potential to eliminate the need for time-consuming and costly court proceedings and trials. However, to be eligible for this program you must meet certain criteria. Avoid the expensive and lengthy court process and contact Central Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney Lee S. Cohen today to determine whether you and your case might qualify for ARD.

While the ARD rules do not specifically state which offenders or criminal offenses qualify for participation in the ARD program, the district attorney has the authority and discretion to decide which cases are appropriate. Thus, to be admitted into an ARD program is a privilege, rather than a matter of right. After criminal proceedings have begun the district attorney decides — either on their own or at the request of your defense attorney — whether your case can be considered for ARD. To qualify for ARD, you and your case must fall under the following criteria:

Program participants must not have a lengthy criminal history (typically, but not always, a first-time offender);

Program participants must be willing to engage in treatment and be open to rehabilitation, rather than punishment;

The crime that offenders are charged with must be relatively minor; and

The crime that offenders are charged with may not involve a serious breach of the public trust

As mentioned above, whether a criminal case qualifies for the ARD program is at the discretion of the district attorney. However, the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code and Rules of Criminal Procedure provide the sole criteria for allowing those charged with driving under the influence into the ARD program.

The intent of the ARD program is to encourage criminal offenders to start anew with a clean slate after they participate in treatment and rehabilitation. The conditions imposed by the ARD program are sometimes the same as those for probation, including restitution and costs. The Pennsylvania courts have broad authority to modify these conditions and sometimes even county paroles have authority to provide specific terms of the ARD program. The program also offers offenders the possibility of wiping the crime from their record upon successful completion. After successful completion of the program, the charges are usually dismissed by order of the court. Since placement in the ARD program precludes a finding of guilt, completion of the program will ordinarily entitle a defendant to move for expungement of the arrest record and participation in the ARD program.

Also, if a defendant does not successfully finish the ARD program successfully, the district attorney may ask  the court to terminate the program. If the court terminates the program, the district attorney may then prosecute the defendant for the charged offense as if the defendant never participated in the ARD program.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, it is important that you speak with experienced Central Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney Lee S. Cohen right away. It is possible that you and your case may qualify for the ARD program, which has the potential to wipe your record clean of the arrest associated with that charge. Contact Attorney Lee S. Cohen, or call (717) 208-2622 or contact us online for your free consultation.