What is ARD?
ARD is the acronym for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program and is the generic phrase used for first-time offender programs in counties across Pennsylvania. ARD can be explained as a “probation without verdict” type of program, meaning a program that imposes a punishment ordered by the court but does not result in a conviction of the offense. Normally, a person only receives a sentence or punishment from the court if the person pleads guilty to or is convicted of a criminal charge. By being convicted or pleading guilty to the criminal charge, a person has a criminal record that will appear on criminal background searches. Participation in the ARD program alters the general rule and results in the imposition of a sentence or penalty without a conviction or guilty plea. The requirements and conditions of ARD often vary depending upon the precise criminal charges that are filed and the county in which the criminal case is being prosecuted, and you can read and find more information about the ARD requirements by reading below. The benefit of ARD is that successful completion of the ARD program avoids a conviction and allows for the dismissal and expungement of the charges. The expungement is NOT automatic upon completion of ARD. Instead, a person must go through the expungement process to have the records of the incident removed from the government records.
ARD for DUI, Marijuana Possession, Furnishing Alcohol to Minors
Many people charged with relatively minor, non-violent misdemeanor offenses such as DUI, Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana or Possession of Paraphernalia, Theft, Possession of False Identification, or False Reports to Law Enforcement are approved to participate in the ARD program in many counties across Pennsylvania. Some counties accept minor assault charges, such as Simple Assault, into the ARD program, but, others, such as Centre County, do not allow assault-related criminal charges to be considered for participation in the ARD program. Many counties do not permit ARD participation for felony drug delivery or possession with intent to deliver charges.
If you have any questions about ARD or any criminal charges you may be facing, please contact State College ARD attorney Jason S. Dunkle today for a free consultation at (814) 954-7622 or via email.