A Rehabilitative Program That Lets Non-Violent Offenders Maintain A Clean Record

Sometimes, criminal charges stem from one poor decision by someone who has no prior convictions or previous contact with the criminal justice system. Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program provides alternative resolution for individuals who face non-violent criminal charges, and who have a clean or relatively clean record.

The ARD program emphasizes rehabilitation rather than punishment, allowing a defendant to complete specified steps – such as a program on substance abuse – and avoid costly, time-consuming litigation or other court proceedings. Participants may also be required to complete community service.

Terry Hess Law helps college students and others who are charged with a non-violent crime determine if the ARD program is a smart alternative to fighting a criminal charge. Attorney Terry Hess understands how one criminal conviction can upend a career or education. He works to minimize the impact of a non-violent criminal charge and help his clients keep their lives on track.

Who Qualifies For ARD?

Most people who utilize the ARD program face charges of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or a controlled substance. Individuals who face theft or property crimes also may qualify to participate in the program. It is not necessary to admit committing a crime to participate in ARD.

Eligibility for ARD is determined by the District Attorney’s Office in Centre County or whichever county is bringing charges. The District Attorney’s Office conducts careful screening of applicants to ensure that only those individuals who qualify are admitted. Program participants are supervised by officials in the Adult Probation/Parole Department for one or more years, an arrangement that is similar to standard probation.

Disposition Of Charges

In addition to avoiding lengthy and expensive court procedures, participants who successfully complete the ARD program may petition the court to have charges dismissed and their case expunged. It is an effective means to keep a career on track or a college education from being derailed. A person who does not comply with the rules of the program after being admitted may be removed and criminal charges will be reinstated.

The intent is to use early intervention to prevent repeat offenses, thereby increasing public safety. A person who is admitted to the ARD program after being charged with DUI may face suspension of their driver’s license, but typically not as long as the one-year suspension that comes with a standard conviction of drunk driving. You may also be required to pay fines, court costs and other fees.

We Can Answer Your Questions About ARD

ARD is a good alternative to facing DUI or other charges, but it’s not right for everyone. We welcome the opportunity to review the facts of your case and help you determine if petitioning to participate in the ARD program is the right decision. Call 814-357-7040 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.