ARD: Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition
“ARD” is an acronym for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition and it is a diversionary program for mostly those that have been charged with DUI but also may be used for those charged with other crimes as well. Here’s how it works: After the defendant’s preliminary hearing the defendant will fill out an application to be considered for admission into the program. The program is run by the Montgomery County District attorney’s office and is not a lock to get into. I recommend the defendant retain counsel to assist them with their application and to generally guide them through the process. If and when the defendant in a DUI situation is accepted into the ARD program they will receive this benefit: they will serve a term of non-reporting probation (no probation officer) and if they complete it successfully they will secure a dismissal of all their criminal charges as well as the opportunity to have the actual arrest expunged. Further, for DUIs, instead of a year of driver’s license loss, the ARD participant will undergo a license suspension for 90 days…..tops. It’s a good deal.
But whoa, wait a minute. Not everyone gets into ARD and as a Montgomery County PA DUI lawyer I have seen people turned down for a variety of reasons. The Montgomery County DA’s Office has set forth a set of guidelines that will bar an individual from ARD admission. Here is a list of disqualifiers as set forth by head DA Risa Ferman.
A person in PA shall not receive ARD if:
- The Defendant as any prior conviction;
- The defendant has a second offense DUI or higher;
- There was an accident as a result of the DUI which caused someone other than the defendant serious bodily injury;
- For DUIs, there was a person under the age of 14 present in the defendant’s vehicle;
- The defendant is accused of a violent crime;
- The defendant is accused of an assaultive crime involving a weapon;
- Defendant has been charged with a sex offense;
- Crimes against children or the elderly;
- Crimes committed against care-dependent victims by home care workers, nurses aides, etc
- Witness Intimidation
That said, there are circumstances where a Montgomery County PA criminal defense attorney can advocate so that the DA’s office can make an exception regarding the above. That is why it is important to ascertain legal representation for an ARD case if you can afford one. Good luck and be safe.