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January 2015 Archives

Pennsylvania District Attorneys Are Gatekeepers to First-Time Offender Program Called ARD

A recent Dauphin County case has brought attention to who decides whether a person charged with a criminal offense is permitted to participate in a pretrial diversionary or first-time offender program known as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, commonly called "ARD." With the ARD program, a person pleads not guilty to the criminal charges, but the person willingly accepts a punishment from the court in the form of supervision by the probation department, payment of court costs and fees, community service, and completion of counseling. Upon completion of the ARD requirements and  compliance with its conditions, the person successfully completes the ARD program and is normally able to have the charges dismissed and then expunged from the criminal records maintained by the government.