Pennsylvania law recognizes that a first offense may not always be a true representation of a person’s character and allows, in some instances, a second chance. The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD ) Program, is a pre-trial intervention program unique to PA that diverts first time offenders, who are unlikely to commit another crime, out of the criminal justice system and into treatment and rehabilitation.
If you are a first time offender of a non-violent crime, experienced Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program attorney Keith J. Williams is ready to help you keep your record clean and put this all behind you.
ARD Program Eligibility
If you are a first time offender of a non-violent crime, experienced Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program attorney Keith J. Williams is ready to help you navigate the process and help you complete all the required steps of the ARD program.
ARD Program Eligibility Factors
In Pennsylvania, eligibility for ARD depends upon a variety of factors:
• You are a first-time offender with no prior criminal history.
• Your charges are non-violent.
• No third party was harmed or killed if you were involved in a drunk driving accident.
• If you previously participated in ARD, it must have been more than 10 years ago.
• You have not already been convicted at trial.
• You successfully apply for admission to the program within the deadline.
Crimes Eligible for the ARD Program
If your criminal record is otherwise clean, you may be eligible for offenses such as:
• Retail Theft
• Possession of a Controlled Substance
• Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
• Criminal Mischief
• Disorderly Conduct
• And Others
ARD Program Benefits
ARD is considered a diversionary program. It is an alternative to trial, to conviction, and to some of the mandatory penalties a conviction brings. The ARD program in Pennsylvania can help first-time offenders:
• Avoid jail time
• Avoid a criminal conviction
• Reduce a driver’s license suspension period
• Keep your criminal record clean
• Expungement eligibility
The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Admission
It’s important to have an experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney guide you through the ARD process. Keith J. Williams can help determine if you qualify for the ARD program, if the ARD program is the right option for you and help you successfully apply for admission.
ARD Admission Process
The application requirements, process and procedures for admission into the ARD program differ within each Pennsylvania County. Keith J. Williams can help you navigate the process and help you complete all the required steps of the ARD program.
Required Steps of the ARD Admission Process
- Waive your rights to a speedy trial from the date of your application for ARD until the date on which your case is finally disposed.
- Submit a completed ARD Application to the assigned Magisterial District Court.
- Submit a completed ARD Information Form with your ARD Application to the assigned Magisterial District Court.
What Happens Next
The Magisterial District Court will forward your application to the District Attorney’s office. The District Attorney will determine whether or not you are accepted into the ARD program.
If your application for ARD is conditionally approved by the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, a court hearing where you will be formally placed into the ARD program will be scheduled.
If you are not accepted into the ARD program, you will receive a rejection letter and your case will be scheduled for a trial date.
Acceptance into the ARD Program
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is a pre-trial intervention program for first time non-violent offenders. ARD is not a conviction and does not require you to serve mandatory jail sentences associated with certain convictions.
ARD Program Conditions
Depending on the nature of the crime, the ARD program in Pennsylvania can include:
• A minimum of 10 hours of community service
• Court-ordered evaluations and treatment programs
• License suspension ranging from 0 to 2 months
• Payments of fines & costs
Consequences of Failing to Complete the ARD Program
Failure to complete the ARD program in Pennsylvania can result in all the original charges being reinstated and the full penalties applied, including steep fines and jail time.
The Bucks County ARD Community Service Policy
Everyone must complete community service as part of their ARD programs. The Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Department must verify community service hours.
It is the responsibility of the defendant to submit a completion letter to the Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Department for verification. This letter must be from the agency where community service hours were performed. This letter should state that the required community service hours have been fulfilled as well as the contact information for the agency’s community service program director.
If community service hours have been verified as completed by the Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Department, and all other ARD conditions have been fulfilled prior to the ARD court date, the defendant may be eligible for a 6-month probation period for both DUI and non-DUI offenses.
Criminal Record Expungement After ARD Program Completion
If you complete the ARD program successfully, you qualify for a record expungement lawyer, meaning that your criminal record will be cleared of the arrest, charges, and completion of the ARD program.
Effective April 1, 2013: Upon successful completion of your ARD agreement, the Court will automatically dismiss the charges against you and your criminal record will be expunged pursuant to Rules 319 and 320 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. If you were granted ARD between June 1, 2011 and March 28, 2013; your case will not be automatically expunged. You may petition the courts for Expungement if you have successfully completed all of you ARD requirements.
Advantages of Hiring Keith J. Williams, Esq. to Handle Your ARD
Criminal defense attorney Keith J. Williams, Esq. has decades of experience defending clients against criminal charges and has a comprehensive understanding of the laws and procedures governing the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program.
As an experienced ARD attorney, Mr. Williams can help determine if you are eligible for the ARD program, if the ARD program is right option for you, and help you apply for admission into the ARD program as quickly, thoroughly and efficiently as possible so you can put this behind and look forward to a future unhindered by the past.