State College ARD Attorney

What is ARD?

ARD is short for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, and it is a pretrial diversionary program that is used in every county in Pennsylvania to resolve many relatively minor misdemeanor cases for first time offenders or people with minimal criminal records. With ARD, a person pleads not guilty to the charges, but, instead of proceeding to a trial, the person accepts ARD and is required to comply with a list of conditions and complete requirements in exchange for a dismissal of the charges. The conditions and requirements vary from county to county, and the requirements often vary depending upon the charges and fact pattern. For example, drug and alcohol related charges often require completion of addiction counseling and classes. Upon completion of ARD, the charges are dismissed, and the dismissed charges can normally be expunged from the records.  Most counties do not expunge the records automatically upon completion of ARD, which means that an attorney will often be required to file paperwork to faciliate the dismissal and expungement processes.  Many people mistakenly think that completion of ARD results in the destruction of the records.  That is not the case.  Expungement paperwork must be filed to have the records destroyed.

What Charges Are Eligible for an ARD Disposition?

Pennsylvania law does exclude some charges from being approved for ARD, such as rape. Aside from that list of excluded offenses, the majority of ARD eligibility decisions are made by the district attorney. Because each county has a different district attorney, he type of case that may be approved for ARD in one county may not be approved in another county. Most prosecutors will approve ARD in non-violent misdemeanor cases such as:

ARD is sometimes used in Simple and Aggravated Assault cases, often depending upon the severity of the incident.  Obtaining ARD for felony charges is often more difficult, but, depending upon the facts and circumstances. An experienced defense attorney will generally know the prosecutor’s tendencies for approving or denying ARD, and such a lawyer knows the best way to present an ARD application and supporting materials to the district attorney to increase the likelihood of ARD approval.  For more information, check out the ARD Q & A page.

Free Consultation to Discuss ARD Eligiblity

State College criminal defense lawyer Jason S. Dunkle has been representing clients since 2004, and many of those clients have been approved to participate in ARD.  Attorney Dunkle uses his knowledge and experience in handling criminal cases to explain your legal rights and recommend a course of action.  If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense, you should contact JD Law by email or by calling (814) 689-9139 to schedule a free consultation