Can I get ARD for a felony drug charge?

ARD for a felony drug case?

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is a pretrial diversionary programs in Pennsylvania that allows a person to obtain a dismissal and an expungement of all charges in a criminal case.  The program basically requires a person to accept a punishment from the court, and upon completion of the punishment, the charges can be dismissed and then expunged.  Most county courts do NOT expunge a record for the person.  Instead, the person must go through the expungement process.  People facing a felony drug charge would often love to be admitted into ARD or PWOV, but that is not always possible.  It must be emphasized that there is not right or privilege to be admitted into these programs just because a person is a first-time offender.  Participation is often determined by the prosecutor or the judge after considering various factors, including the type and quantity of drug involved, and the number of charges that a person is facing.  The larger the quantity and the more severe the drug, the less likely the person is to be approved for a diversionary program.

With ARD, the prosecutor, which is normally the district attorney in the county in which the charges are filed, makes the decision about whether or not a person is approved for ARD.  Prosecutors routinely use ARD for non-violent, misdemeanor charges like DUI, Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, and misdemeanor drug possession.  Prosecutors are often less agreeable to approving ARD in felony cases.  It is often more difficult to obtain ARD for felony charges.  Hiring a defense lawyer with experience in the county in which the charges were filed is critical to having the highest probability of success.  The appeal process for a denial of ARD is basically non-existent.  If the prosecutor denies ARD, there is little that can be done on that issue.

 If you are charged with any drug offense, you should contact an experienced drug lawyer such as State College criminal defense lawyer Jason S. Dunkle.