ARD is an acronym that stands for “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition.” ARD in a nutshell, is a pre-trial diversionary program that focuses on rehabilitation over incarceration. You want ARD because successful completion of the program brings with the option for a complete Expungement. This makes the program unique among the litany of offender treatment courts.
ARD is an offer of settlement that is made by a member of the District Attorney’s office. It is important to note that ARD is not a right. You cannot demand entry into the ARD program. In fact, your criminal history (or lack thereof) factors greatly into this equation. This process starts by either your Attorney asking for or the District Attorney offering application for entry into the ARD Program. The next step is for you and your Attorney to apply. Once accepted, you will attend the ARD Hearing. At this hearing, the Judge explains the program to you and details exactly what is expected of you. Generally, this amounts to you undergoing certain treatment classes, doing community service, making restitution (if applicable), checking in with a probation officer, and paying fines/costs.
When you enter the ARD program, the prosecution against you is deferred or “paused.” If you are not able to complete the program, you will be discharged from the program and the prosecution against you will recommence. If you are successful in completing the program, then the District Attorney gets rid of the charges against you and the prosecution ceases. Most importantly, the Judge will order the record expunged and the arrest, the information filed against you, and the rest of the case will no longer be public information.
Interestingly, DUI comprises the lion’s share of cases that are accepted into the ARD program. Of note, ARD is particularly helpful with a first time DUI as it eliminates the jail time and reduces the driving suspension from at least “one year” to at most “two months.”
This does not mean other crimes are not ARD eligible. Frustratingly enough, there is no set criteria as to what will exclude you from ARD eligibility. There are certain statutory restrictions warranting preclusion from the ARD program pertaining to DUI including a previous DUI conviction, a passenger under the age of 14, and if an accident or injury were involved. Generally, serious crimes are not eligible. More so, the particular type of charge that is eligible for entry into the program varies from county to county.
ARD is a great resolution to any case. Our attorneys have significant dealings with ARD. At one point or another, our attorneys have gotten clients admitted to ARD when facing gun charges, drug charges, theft charges, and DUI charges. We can help you.
75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1552. Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition
The court of common pleas in each judicial district and the Municipal Court of Philadelphia shall establish and implement a program for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition for persons charged with a violation of section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, Chapter 38 (relating to driving after imbibing alcohol or utilizing drugs) and rules adopted by the Supreme Court.
75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3807. Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition
(a) Eligibility.– (1) Except as set forth in paragraph (2), a defendant charged with a violation of section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) may be considered by the attorney for the Commonwealth for participation in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program in a county if the program includes the minimum requirements contained in this section.
(2) The attorney for the Commonwealth shall not submit a charge brought under this chapter for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition if any of the following apply:
(i) The defendant has been found guilty of or accepted Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition of a charge brought under section 3802 within ten years of the date of the current offense unless the charge was for an ungraded misdemeanor under section 3802(a)(2) and was the defendant’s first offense under section 3802.
(ii) An accident occurred in connection with the events surrounding the current offense and an individual other than the defendant was killed or suffered serious bodily injury as a result of the accident.
(iii) There was a passenger under 14 years of age in the motor vehicle the defendant was operating.
(b) Evaluation and treatment.– (1) A defendant offered Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition for a violation of section 3802 is, as a condition of participation in the program, subject to the following requirements in addition to any other conditions of participation imposed by the court:
(i) The defendant must attend and successfully complete an alcohol highway safety school established under section 1549 (relating to establishment of schools). A participating defendant shall be given both oral and written notice of the provisions of section 1543(b)(relating to driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked).
(ii) Prior to receiving Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or other preliminary disposition, the defendant must be evaluated under section 3816(a) (relating to requirements for driving under influence offenders) to determine the extent of the defendant’s involvement with alcohol or other drug and to assist the court in determining what conditions of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition would benefit the defendant and the public. If the evaluation indicates there is a need for counseling or treatment, the defendant shall be subject to a full assessment for alcohol and drug addiction in accordance with the provisions of section 3814(3) and (4)(relating to drug and alcohol assessments).
(iii) If the defendant is assessed under subparagraph (ii) to be in need of treatment, the defendant must participate and cooperate with a licensed alcohol or drug addiction treatment program. The level and duration of treatment shall be in accordance with the recommendations of the full assessment. Nothing in this subparagraph shall prevent a treatment program from refusing to accept a defendant if the program administrator deems the defendant to be inappropriate for admission to the program. A treatment program shall retain the right to immediately discharge into the custody of the probation officer an offender who fails to comply with program rules and treatment expectations or refuses to constructively engage in the treatment process.
(iv) The defendant must remain subject to court supervision for at least six months, but not more than 12 months.
(v) The defendant must make restitution to any person that incurred determinable financial loss as a result of the defendant’s actions which resulted in the offense. Restitution must be subject to court supervision.
(vi) The defendant must pay the reasonable costs of a municipal corporation in connection with the offense. Fees imposed under this subparagraph shall be distributed to the affected municipal corporation.
(vii) The defendant must pay any other fee, surcharge or cost required by law. Except as set forth in subparagraph (vi), (viii) or (ix), a fee or financial condition imposed by a judge as a condition of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or any other preliminary disposition of any charge under this chapter shall be distributed as provided for in 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 3571 (relating to Commonwealth portion of fines, etc.) and 3573 (relating to municipal corporation portion of fines, etc.).
(viii) The defendant must pay the costs of compliance with subparagraphs (i), (ii) and (iii).
(ix) The defendant shall pay a cost of $25 which shall be forwarded to the State Treasurer for deposit in the Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund.
(2) The defendant shall be subject to a full assessment for alcohol and drug addiction if any of the following apply:
(i) The evaluation under paragraph (1)(ii) indicates a likelihood that the defendant is addicted to alcohol or other drugs.
(ii) The defendant’s blood alcohol content at the time of the offense was at least 0.16%.
(3) The assessment under paragraph (2) shall be conducted by one of the following:
(i) The Department of Health or its designee.
(ii) The county agency with responsibility for county drug and alcohol programs or its designee.
(iii) The clinical personnel of a facility licensed by the Department of Health for the conduct of drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.
(4) The assessment under paragraph (2) shall consider issues of public safety and shall include recommendations for all of the following:
(i) Length of stay.
(ii) Levels of care.
(iii) Follow-up care and monitoring.
(c) Insurance.– (1) This subsection shall only apply to a health insurance, health maintenance organization or other health plan required to provide benefits under section 602-A of the act of May 17, 1921 (P.L. 682, No. 284)1, known as The Insurance Company Law of 1921.
(2) If an individual who is insured by a health insurance, a health maintenance organization or other health plan, that is doing business in this Commonwealth, the individual may not be deprived of alcohol and other drug abuse and addiction treatment or coverage within the scope of that plan due to the identification of an alcohol or other drug problem which occurs as a result of an assessment under this section.
(d) Mandatory suspension of operating privileges.– As a condition of participation in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, the court shall order the defendant’s license suspended as follows:
(1) There shall be no license suspension if the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of testing was less than 0.10%.
(2) For 30 days if the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of testing was at least 0.10% but less than 0.16%.
(3) For 60 days if:
(i) the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of testing was 0.16% or higher;
(ii) the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration is not known;
(iii) an accident which resulted in bodily injury or in damage to a vehicle or other property occurred in connection with the events surrounding the current offense; or
(iv) the defendant was charged pursuant to section 3802(d).
(4) For 90 days if the defendant was a minor at the time of the offense.
(e) Failure to comply.– (1) A defendant who fails to complete any of the conditions of participation contained in this section shall be deemed to have unsuccessfully participated in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, and the criminal record underlying participation in the program shall not be expunged.
(2) The court shall direct the attorney for the Commonwealth to proceed on the charges as prescribed in the Rules of Criminal Procedure if the defendant:
(i) fails to meet any of the requirements of this section;
(ii) is charged with or commits an offense under 18 Pa.C.S. (relating to crimes and offenses); or
(iii) violates any other condition imposed by the court.
Pa.R.Crim.P. Rule 300. Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition in Summary Cases
(A) Unless the district attorney has elected, pursuant to paragraph (B)(1), that ARD in summary cases proceed in the court of common pleas, ARD in summary cases shall proceed in the office of the proper issuing authority as provided in Rule 301.
(B) The district attorney, by filing a certification with the president judge, may:
(1) elect that ARD in summary cases proceed in the court of common pleas pursuant to Rule 302; and/or
(2) designate certain classes of offenses or offenders, in addition to those statutorily excluded, that shall not be considered for summary case ARD.
(C) When a certification has been filed by the district attorney pursuant to this rule, the president judge shall promulgate a local rule in substantially the following form:
Rule ___. SUMMARY CASE ARD
The District Attorney of County has filed a certification pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 300, and:
(1) has elected that ARD in summary cases shall proceed in the court of common pleas pursuant to the procedures in Pa.R.Crim.P. 302; and/or
(2) has designated the following classes of offenses and/or offenders, in addition to those which are statutorily excluded, as ineligible for summary case ARD:
(D) The president judge of each judicial district shall formulate local procedures to provide uniformity within the judicial district for ARD in summary cases before the minor judiciary under Rule 301, and in the court of common pleas under Rule 302.
(1) The locally formulated procedures shall be in writing, filed with the clerk of courts, and served upon all judges handling summary caseARD in the court of common pleas and upon all issuing authorities within the judicial district.
(2) The local procedures shall, at a minimum, establish:
(a) costs and administrative expenses taxable for summary case ARD;
(b) procedures for restitution;
(c) conditions of the program;
(d) record checking, record keeping, and reporting requirements;
(e) procedures requiring each issuing authority to submit a monthly report on the disposition of all the cases eligible for ARD to the official designated by the president judge to compile such reports and monitor the cases; and
(f) procedures for completion or termination of the program.
Pa.R.Crim.P. Rule 310. Motion for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition
After criminal proceedings in a court case have been instituted, the attorney for the Commonwealth may move, before a judge empowered to try court cases, that the case be considered for accelerated rehabilitative disposition.
Pa.R.Crim.P. Rule 312. Hearing, Explanation of Program
Hearing on a motion for accelerated rehabilitative disposition shall be in open court in the presence of the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, the attorney for the Commonwealth, and any victims who attend. At such hearing, it shall be ascertained on the record whether the defendant understands that:
(1) acceptance into and satisfactory completion of the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program offers the defendant an opportunity to earn a dismissal of the pending charges;
(2) should the defendant fail to complete the program, the defendant waives the appropriate statute of limitations and the defendant’s right to a speedy trial under any applicable Federal or State constitutional provisions, statutes or rules of court during the period of enrollment in the
Pa.R.Crim.P. Rule 313. Hearing, Manner of Proceeding
(A) When the defendant, with the advice and agreement of the defendant’s attorney, indicates understanding of these proceedings, requests acceptance into the program, and agrees to the terms set forth in Rule 312, the stenographer shall close the record.
(B) The judge thereupon shall hear the facts of the case as presented by the attorney for the Commonwealth, and such information as the defendant or the defendant’s attorney may present, and shall hear from any victim present. No statement presented by the defendant shall be used against the defendant for any purpose in any criminal proceeding except a prosecution based on the falsity of the information or statement supplied.
(C) After hearing the facts of the case, if the judge believes that it warrants accelerated rehabilitative disposition, the judge shall order the stenographer to reopen the record and shall state to the parties the conditions of the program. If the judge does not accept the case for accelerated rehabilitative disposition, the judge shall order that the case proceed on the charges as provided by law. No appeal shall be allowed from such order.
(D) After the stenographer reopens the record, the defendant shall thereupon state to the judge whether the defendant accepts the conditions and agrees to comply. If the statement is in the affirmative, the judge may grant the motion for accelerated rehabilitative disposition and shall enter an appropriate order as set forth in Rules 314 and 315. If the defendant answers in the negative, the judge shall proceed as set forth in Rule 317.
(E) Upon the judge’s granting of the motion for accelerated rehabilitative disposition, bail shall be terminated, and any money or other form of security deposited shall be returned in accordance with the rules pertaining to bail.