Pennsylvania ARD Program

Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program (ARD) is a first time non-violent offender second chance program. The program allows defendants to avoid pleading guilty to a non-violent crime. Instead, the defendant is required to perform community service, pay court costs, and complete probation. Upon the successful completion of the program requirements, the charge will be dismissed and an automatic expungement will occur to clear the accused criminal record. It will be as though the criminal charge never occurred.

If you have recently been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, contact our team of Pennsylvania DUI lawyers in confidence for a free consultation. I can review your case in detail and provide you with legal advice and guidance on how to get the charge asserted against you reduced or completely dismissed. Read on to learn more about Pennsylvania’s ARD program and whether you qualify.

ARD Program Overview

The ARD program is administered by the district attorney’s office. As mentioned above, it is a pre-trial intervention program for first time non-violent offenders. If allowed entry into the program, the defendant will not have to serve jail time. If the defendant fails to comply with any of the ARD agreement conditions, or is arrested for a new offense, he/she will be removed from the program.

ARD Eligibility

The DA approves the accused entrance into the ARD program. To be eligible to attend ARD, the defendant must meet the following requirements:

  1. The defendant must not have been convicted of any crimes
  2. The defendant must be a first time non-violent offender
  3. The defendant must have never attended the ARD program
  4. The defendant must not have caused serious injury to anyone while driving under the influence

In order to apply for the ARD program, the defendant must waive his/her preliminary hearing, submit a completed ARD application to the assigned Magisterial District Court, and submit a completed ARD information form along with the application to the assigned Magisterial District Court. Common charges such as the following are appropriate for the ARD program:

  1. Possession of a controlled substance (small quantity)
  2. Theft
  3. Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance

Note, if the accused is accepted into the ARD program for a DUI offense, each subsequent DUI offense mandatory sentence will be enhanced. The costs to attend the ARD program is between $500 – $1,000. The price will depend on whether the accused retains a private attorney or public defender.

You should consult with a criminal defense attorney if you are contemplating to participate in the program. An experienced attorney may review your case and gather compelling evidence to have the charge asserted against you dismissed. In this case, attending the ARD program would not be practical. You can view the program as a one time “get out of jail” free card.

I invite you to contact my law office to discuss your case. I can review the nature of the charge and provide you with guidance on whether to apply for the ARD program, or use criminal procedural motions to have it dismissed. Do not delay in retaining an attorney. Doing so can damage your case.