State College ARD Attorney
ARD is the acronym for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program and is the generic phrase for a pretrial diversionary program that is used in counties across the state of Pennsylvania. With ARD, a participant pleads not guilty to charges, but instead of proceeding to a trial, the person accepts ARD in the pretrial phase of the case. The prosecutor, normally a county District Attorney, must approve the person to participate in ARD, and a judge must then accept the person into ARD. In order to complete ARD, the participant is often subjected to a period of supervision by the probation department, must pay ARD costs and fees, complete community service, and possibly complete counseling or other treatment programs. Some charges, like Underage Drinking, DUI, and Possession of a Fake ID, also result in a suspension of driving privileges. The precise conditions and requirements often varies from county to county, and the requirements may even vary within the same county based upon the difference in charges and difference in fact patterns.
Upon completion of ARD, the charges are dismissed, and the dismissed charges can normally be expunged from the records. In order to dismiss and expunge, paperwork must generally be filed with the Clerk of Courts. Most counties do not expunge the records automatically upon completion of ARD.
What Charges Are Eligible for an ARD Disposition?
While some Pennsylvania laws or rules do exclude people charged with certain criminal offenses or involving particular facts from being eligible for ARD consideration, the majority of eligibility decisions regarding ARD are made by the district attorney for the county in which the charges are filed. As a general rule, many district attorneys in Pennsylvania allow for ARD participation or participation in similar programs for non-violent misdemeanor offenses such as:
- Possession of a small amount of marijuana
- Possession of paraphernalia
- Furnishing alcohol to minors
- Boating Under the Influence/BUI
ARD is sometimes used in cases for Theft, Assault, and Criminal Mischief, depending upon the severity of the incident. Obtaining ARD for felony charges is often more difficult, but, depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case, some district attorneys will allow for ARD disposition in such criminal cases. 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 supportive materials to the district attorney to increase the likelihood of ARD approval.
What Should I Do?
State College criminal defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle has represented client that were approved to participate in ARD for many criminal offenses, from routine DUIs to felony Aggravated Assault or Possession With Intent to Deliver, and representation has spanned across various Central Pennsylvania counties, including Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Huntingdon, Juniata, and Mifflin counties. 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) 954-7622 to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION. Consultations can be handled over the phone or via a face-to-face meeting. Penn State students can easily walk to the JD Law Office, as it is located in downtown State College and only blocks away from the University Park Campus of Penn State.
For more information, check out the ARD Q & A page.