Can I be removed from ARD if…….?

People are often removed from the ARD program for failing to complete ARD requirements by the completion deadline. For example, most ARD programs require a person to complete an Alcohol Highway Safety School, counseling, community service, and payment of court costs. If a person does not do those things by the deadline and does not get an extension of the deadline, the district attorney will often file paperwork and ask a judge to have the person removed from ARD. If a person’s ARD is terminated, the prosecutor will then resume prosecution of the charges.

Removal from ARD for Criminal Charges

With ARD, a person must stay out of legal trouble, meaning no criminal charges while on ARD. New criminal charges while on ARD will violate ARD and result in ARD removal.

But what if the person committed the offense before requesting ARD but is charged after the ARD placement for the first offense, can that person be removed from ARD for something that happened before the admission into ARD?  The Superior Court answered that question in the affirmative. In the case of Commonwealth v. Jenkins, Jenkins was arrested for a first offense of DUI. Within two months, Jenkins was arrested a second time for suspicion of DUI. Jenkins was charged with the first offense and applied for the ARD. The ARD application required a person to list prior offenses and any pending charges. Jenkins did not list the second offense DUI arrest because he had not been charged yet, so he answered the questions truthfully. Jenkins was admitted into ARD. The charges for the second offense DUI were filed, and the district attorney then sought to have a judge remove Jenkins from ARD.

Jenkin’s criminal defense attorney argued that Jenkins had not violated the terms of his ARD, and he argued that he did not lie or provide deceptive information on the ARD application because he was only required to report pending charges and arrests. The basic argument is that Jenkins did not do anything wrong, so he should not be removed from ARD. The Superior Court rejected the argument. The Court then stated that Jenkins should not be able to benefit because he had not been charged with the second offense when he applied for ARD. More specifically, the Court wrote “[i]t would be unfair to allow Appellant to deliberately withhold information about his arrest and place the responsibility on the prosecution to uncover Appellant’s relevant criminal history before evaluating whether to recommend him for ARD.” The Court basically punished Jenkins for not disclosing information about the second DUI even though he had answered the questions on the ARD application correctly. The Court also justified its decision by stating that they were not punishing Jenkins for failure to report but were instead removing the benefit of ARD, and the benefit was something that should not have been given to Jenkins in the first place.