ARD Program in Pennsylvania

About the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program

Entering the criminal justice system can be a frightening and traumatic experience. The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program was designed to keep first-time offenders out of the system and actually serve to rehabilitate. A first-time DUI offense in Pennsylvania will normally qualify for the program, but you will need to apply.

First-time charges of theft and simple assault can also qualify for ARD. A Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney can greatly enhance your chances of acceptance in the program. A successful completion of the program will normally result in expungement of the crime, and if not, your attorney can work to resolve any issues that are preventing it.

DUI Attorney in Pittsburgh Explains ARD Basics

The first thing you need to know is that the ARD is a recommended alternative for most cases, but not all. Your attorney can evaluate these factors and help you to determine if ARD is right for you:

  • Strength of the case against you
  • Weaknesses of your own case
  • Your prior criminal record and/or DUI record
  • The effects of jail time on your life
  • Any other relevant circumstances in your life

Your decision should be an informed one and your attorney will provide you with the full scope of information needed to make that decision. If you decide to apply for and are accepted into the program, the charges against you will be suspended until the successful completion of the court-ordered conditions. These can include counseling, community service and restitution for injury or damages caused.

The original crime will be dismissed after the program is completed. 30 days following completion you can formally request expungement of the arrest and the ARD participation. The ARD record will, however, remain with the District Attorney's office and a future conviction will be counted as the second, not the first. There are many factors to consider before you make your decision. You will benefit from the trusted counsel of your criminal defense attorney.

If you are considering the ARD program after a first-time DUI arrest, or you have questions concerning the pros and cons for your situation, contact a Pittsburgh DUI lawyer at our office today.

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