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Is The ARD Program Right For You?

Last updated on February 3, 2021

Pennsylvania offers a diversionary opportunity for first-time offenders charged with certain crimes, including drunk driving. It is known as the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition ARD Program, and it is an option you need to know about if facing charges.

ARD: How It Works

Once you are approved for ARD, your prosecution is put on hold. During your ARD (usually lasting six to 12 months), you must meet all requirements of the program. This could include participation in classes, substance abuse treatment, community service and any other steps deemed necessary. You must also pay all court fees, program fees and other costs before your ARD is considered complete.

If you complete your ARD, you will have earned the right to have the charges dismissed and your record erased, commonly called an expungement. However if you don’t complete the program, your case will be prosecuted by the District Attorneys office.

Are You Eligible?

While most people think of ARD as applying only to drunk driving charges, it can be used to resolve a wide variety of criminal charges. Whether or not you are accepted into ARD is entirely up the discretion of the prosecutor. Here are some things to be aware of:

  • You must be a first-time offender.
  • It is important to convince the prosecutor that you are of good character and are actively taking responsibility for your alleged crime.
  • Each county has its own ARD rules.

Prosecutors have discretion as to whether you participate and they may not need a reason to turn you down. Therefore, it is wise to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands how the program works locally and what factors could improve your chances of acceptance.

The Benefits of The ARD Program

If you complete the program, there is no criminal charge. You will not have a conviction or charge on your record; the absence of which makes it much easier to get a job, find good housing or qualify for things like federal student loans.

Some Important Things To Know When Considering This Option

Here are some additional details you need to know before participating:

  • Court records don’t automatically disappear, even though charges were dismissed. You’ll need to get them expunged.
  • Costs for participating can be several thousand dollars in addition to attorney fees.
  • Completing the program requires paying all fees as well as other requirements.
  • You may still face temporary loss of license and other statutory penalties.

ARD allows the person to get a second chance when they have committed their first DUI/DWI.The sooner you contact our firm, the sooner we can discuss this and all other options for resolving your DUI charges.

Contact Us Today To Talk To An Attorney

Steven L. Breit, Attorney at Law is based in Lancaster and serves clients throughout Central Pennsylvania. To arrange an initial consultation, call us at 717-553-0494 or fill out our online contact form.