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Stay Out of the System: The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program


The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program (ARD) is a diversionary program for first time offenders. Instead of becoming a part of the criminal justice system, offenders admitted into ARD are diverted into the ARD program. Title 75 Section 1552 of the Pennsylvania code requires each county to have an ARD program for first time DUI offenders, though individuals may be admitted into the ARD program for offenses other than DUI.

When a person is accepted into ARD, the Commonwealth withdraws the charges against the offender pending completion of the ARD program. The ARD program may last anywhere from 12 months to 2 years, and will have conditions and objectives that the offender will have to accomplish in order to complete the program. Some counties may even allow for completion of the ARD program in as little as 6 months if program requirements are met. Conditions of ARD may include completion of counseling for substance abuse issues, a driver's license suspension, community service, payments of costs, fines, and restitution, and compliance with supervision by the ARD officer.

Upon successful completion of the ARD program, the offender may move the court to expunge the record of the offender's arrest. However, record of your participation in an ARD program will remain in the records of the office of the District Attorney as well as with the department of transportation. In cases where the underlying charge was a DUI, participation in the ARD program will still be counted towards the total amount of lifetime DUI convictions within the 10 year window. While participation in the ARD program will not result in a criminal record and may be ultimately expunged, some background check companies may have record of this arrest. Also, some employers may require you to report your participation in an ARD program as part of the pre-employment investigation process.

Admission into the ARD program for first time offenders is not guaranteed. Certain circumstances of the offense may disqualify you from participation in the ARD program, such as a severe crash, or the presence of a minor child under the age of 14 in the vehicle. The District Attorney has discretion to deny applicants to the ARD program as well based on criteria the DA establishes.

If you're a first time offender and want to know more about the ARD program, Attorney Frank Walker can guide you through the process. A conviction on your criminal record can have long lasting consequences for your professional and personal life. Attorney Frank Walker can help you with admission into the ARD program, advise you on the conditions of the program, and help you ultimately get the charges expunged. Call Walker Law today at (412) 212-3878 to find out more!