Many people in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and other communities in Northeast Pennsylvania know someone who has gone through the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program to resolve a DUI, drug charge, or another type of offense. At Kalinoski Law Offices P.C. in Scranton, we have earned a reputation for our aggressive advocacy in trial court. However, we are committed to achieving the most effective results for each client. We explore all available options, including the diversion program known as ARD for people accused of a first-time criminal offense.
Understanding The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program
The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program is a diversion program available for many first-time offenders. The program offers individuals charged with a non-violent crime an opportunity to get a second chance.
When a person is accepted into the diversion program, the Commonwealth will suspend the criminal charges. The program involves probation supervision, where the person may be required to undergo counseling, such as attending alcohol or drug abuse classes, or an anger management course. Restitution, community service, and other conditions are frequently included during the period of probation.
If you successfully complete the terms and conditions of the program, the prosecutor will dismiss the charges. The records can generally be expunged upon application following a 30-day waiting period. In general, successful completion of ARD will allow you to keep your criminal record clean.
An expungement will allow you to say no when asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime. However, the District Attorney does not destroy its records. The program does not prohibit the prosecutor from enhancing a new charge based upon the prior offense, or a court from enhancing a sentence based upon the prior offense, even after successful completion of the program. For instance, if you resolve a DUI charge through the ARD program, a new offense within 10 years may be treated as a repeat DUI offense.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements Of ARD?
At the outset, it is important for you to understand that the District Attorney is given wide discretion to approve or disapprove of an individual’s admission to the diversionary program. There is no automatic path to inclusion. A person charged with a crime must apply to the District Attorney’s office, and each county has its own local rules. Eligibility is based on a variety of factors; having a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer in your corner can make a significant difference.
Generally, the court will review if:
- This is your first offense.
- There was not a serious injury or death during the offense.
- It was a non-violent offense.
The ARD Process
The first step to the ARD process is to submit a written application to the District Attorney’s office within 30 days of the preliminary hearing. In general, the individual applying for ARD admission will waive their right to a preliminary hearing and formal arraignment to receive ARD.
Upon receipt of the application, the victim, police, etc. will have the opportunity to comment on the application to determine if ARD should be granted. If the application is approved, the applicant is placed on probation, ordered to pay the cost of fines, and must complete community service as well as attend any mandated counseling, etc. Upon completion of the program, the record may be expunged.
Call Us For Focused Guidance And A Strong Criminal Defense: ARD Program
We advocate aggressively and explore every option to obtain the most favorable outcome possible. As a trial lawyer, Craig P. Kalinoski fights to protect the rights of each client. However, the ARD program can be a beneficial tool in resolving a criminal charge. To learn more about your legal options, we invite you to call 570-207-4000 or contact us online to request a free initial consultation to discuss your future.