Harrisburg/York Criminal Defense Attorney Answers: “What is ARD?”
ARD stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program. It is a diversionary program largely designated for first-time criminal offenders. However, in certain circumstances, a prior criminal conviction may not automatically prohibit you from obtaining ARD.
The Program is administered at the county level and the discretion of the respective Office of the District Attorney. Thus, while some eligibility requirements are statutory in nature, a person’s eligibility, or lack thereof, could be determined by the discretionary policies implemented by the District Attorney for the county in which you were accused of a crime.
There are numerous benefits that can be obtained through admission into and successful completion of ARD.
First, admission into ARD does not require admission of guilt or guilty plea. Therefore, upon successful completion of ARD, it does not result in a per se conviction. However, depending on the circumstances of your case and the nature of your charges, it could be considered for the grading of subsequent offenses and the penalties you would be subject to.
Additionally, if you successfully complete the ARD program, you may be eligible to petition the court for dismissal and expungement of your charges. As such, if your request for expungement is granted, you would have a clean slate or no criminal record.
Further, there are certain criminal charges that result in a license suspension incident to an actual conviction. For these charges, you may be able to reduce or eliminate the applicable license suspension upon admission into and successful completion of ARD.
At the end of the day, your eligibility for ARD and the benefits you could receive from the same will be determined by the specific criminal charges you face and the circumstances surrounding the accusations.
If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced and knowledgeable PA Criminal Defense Attorney in order evaluate the options available to you.