ARD Program in Pennsylvania – Do You Qualify?

Young man listens while participating in therapy session

The ARD Program in Pennsylvania or the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program is a pre-trial intervention program. It offers first-time, non-violent offenders a second chance. Instead of going to jail, they are allowed to complete rehabilitation to expunge the criminal charges.

What Is the Goal of the ARD Program in Pennsylvania?

In some cases, rehabilitation is a better option for offenders than a prison sentence. The ARD program in Pennsylvania utilizes resources more effectively to help rehabilitate individuals to prevent repeat offenders. By rehabilitating individuals through the program, the state saves money, and the individuals have a second chance to avoid a criminal record and other penalties.

During the program, the person is under supervision and must complete all requirements for the program. If the individual completes the program successfully, the charges are expunged from the person’s criminal record.

Are You Eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program?

The ARD program is for non-violent offenders. Individuals charged with DUI and minor drug offenses are often eligible for the ARD program. However, some DUI offenders may not be eligible for the problem. DUI offenders are not eligible for ARD if:

  • They have a DUI conviction with the past ten years
  • The person caused a DUI accident that resulted in death or injury
  • They have an ARD disposition within the past ten years
  • A person under 15 years of age was in the motor vehicle with the drunk driver

Individuals with non-violent offenses must apply to participate in the program. Eligibility requirements for ARD problems in Pennsylvania include:

  • This crime is your first offense
  • No prior criminal offenses in the past ten years
  • No prior ARD dispositions for other crimes
  • The offense was non-violent
  • No injuries occurred because of the crime

The District Attorney has broad discretion in deciding who can be admitted to the ARD program. Therefore, it can help hire an experienced Erie criminal defense lawyer to help you with the ARD application.

What Happens When You Are in the ARD Program?

You must pay the cost and fees for enrollment and supervision in the program. The program may consist of any of the following requirements:

  • Community service
  • Drug testing
  • Drug abuse classes
  • Alcohol treatment
  • Counseling
  • Anger management courses
  • Restitution

The maximum period for the program is two years. If you fail to complete any of the requirements, you are removed from the program, and your case is tried through the court.

Are There Risks of Being in the ARD Program?

The main risk of being in the ARD program is committing the same offense after an ARD disposition. Your ARD disposition becomes an offense. Therefore, the new offense is a second offense. That distinction could be significant for sentencing purposes for some crimes.

Call an Erie Criminal Defense Attorney Now for a Free Consultation

Our Erie criminal defense lawyer will discuss all options to handle your criminal case, including potential defenses and the ARD program. Call (800) 401-2066 to schedule your free legal consultation with a criminal lawyer in Erie.