The ARD Program
Being charged with a crime can be a daunting and terrifying experience. We, at Sebelin & Sebelin P.C., are well versed in handling criminal offenses. For first time offenders, there are often many options in dealing with your criminal charges. One of those options is the ARD Program.
What is the ARD Program?
In Pennsylvania, if you are a first-time offender, or an individual with a limited criminal record, you may be considered for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD Program). ARD is an alternative to the typical trial, conviction, and sentencing approach of the criminal justice system. If an individual is accepted into the ARD program, the Commonwealth will suspend all charges, and in return, the court will require the fulfillment of certain conditions. This may mean that the individual may need to perform community service, make restitution, obtain counseling, pay court costs, and fulfill any other condition that the court may deem appropriate. Once the person has completed all of the conditions, and after a sufficient probationary period, the criminal charges will be dismissed, and the record of any crimes will be expunged.
ARD isn’t just for DUI!
The vast majority of ARD applicants are individuals accused of driving under the influence. However, ARD may be available to first-time offenders of non-violent crimes including theft, harassment, and certain drug charges. In some instances, we have obtained ARD for individuals charged with simple assault.
Am I eligible for ARD?
Entry into the ARD program is controlled by the local District Attorney’s Office. Each DA has discretion as to who they will allow to enter the program. If you’ve been accused of a crime, it is important you speak to the lawyers at Sebelin & Sebelin, P.C. immediately. We will advocate your interests and help the District Attorney see you as a person who made a mistake.
This seems too perfect, what’s the catch?
Upon completing ARD, all criminal charges will be dismissed and expunged. You will not have a criminal record. However, to complete ARD, individuals may be responsible for paying court costs and fees. These costs may be considerable depending upon the type of crime at issue and the conditions placed by the courts. Additionally, ARD cannot stop statutory penalties such as license suspensions that are imposed for driving under the influence. Finally, if you are arrested after completing ARD, your prior ARD disposition may count against you as a prior criminal conviction. This means you will be subject to a harsher sentence for any subsequent offenses.
Before making any decision, consult with Sebelin & Sebelin, P.C. We will examine the strengths and weaknesses of your case and help you make the best decision for you and your family. For more information visit our website at www.SebelinLegal.com or call for a free consultation (610)-379-4499.