What Does ARD Stand for and How Much Does it Cost?
Pennsylvania ARD Program
In Pennsylvania, ARD stands for the “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition” Program. The program is required to be in all Pennsylvania counties and gives non-violent first offenders with no or very limited criminal records in the past ten (10) years the option for expungement of the charges after successful completion of rehabilitation and supervision. The program is widely used for driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other controlled substances.
The purpose of the program is to provide rehabilitation, a fresh start, and ultimately a clean record – provided that all requirements are met. The program also saves costly state and individual expenses of court proceedings, including a trial.
If you wish to participate in the ARD program, a written application must be provided to the District Attorney’s (D.A.) office within thirty (30) days of your preliminary hearing. It is solely up to the District Attorney to determine who is eligible to be admitted into the program.
Individuals Not Eligible for the ARD Program
Individuals charged with a DUI who will not be eligible for the program include:
- Those defendants who had prior DUI convictions or who completed the ARD program within the past ten (10) years.
- Defendants who had a child 14 years or younger in the vehicle while driving under the influence.
- An individual was seriously injured or killed because of the defendant’s driving under the influence.
The ARD program essentially puts your case on hold and if you complete the requirements within a certain period of time, your case will be dismissed. From the date you are placed into the ARD program at your hearing by the Judge, will you be supervised for a period no longer than two (2) years by the local office of Adult Probation in the county where the charges were filed against you. This does not mean that you are on probation, as you did not plead guilty, but the Probation office will be making sure that you are completing your various requirements for the ARD program.
Requirements for ARD Program
Although the requirements can vary depending on the facts of your case and the county where the charges were filed, they consist of the following:
- Undergo a Court Reporting Network (“CRN”) evaluation to determine level of drug and alcohol treatment
- Undergo a Drug and Alcohol Assessment by authorized treatment centers or a certified advanced alcohol & drug counselor
- Complete an alcohol highway safety course
- Complete some form of community service (typically 10-24 hours)
- Complete drug & alcohol counseling
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Waive your right to a speedy trial
- Pay restitution in cases involving property damage or theft
- Pay cost of prosecution and ARD supervision, which is typically several thousand dollars
- You cannot be charged with any other criminal offenses while under ARD supervision
As far as cost, each county determines their own fee for ARD, but usually the fee is between $1,100.00 and $3,000.00, and within one (1) week of your ARD hearing, you will get a payment plan in the mail. Payments can be made in cash, check, or the ePay system through the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts at the probation department office in the county where you were charged.
Talk to an Experienced DUI Attorney in PA
Having an experienced DUI lawyer to help determine if you may be eligible for the ARD program and assisting you with the ARD application is key. Also, at your preliminary hearing the experienced DUI lawyer can speak with the officer who charged you to get their position on your ARD placement, and if any issues arise, your lawyer can try to convince the officer that ARD is right for you. Further, your lawyer can speak with the District Attorney directly after filing your ARD application to convince them that you are a good candidate for the program.
Your DUI attorney can also petition the court to have the original charges dismissed and expunged from public records after 30 days of your successful completion of the ARD program.
Call Paula Robinson at Robinson Law LLC at 215.530.7166 to see if you qualify for ARD.