Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, more commonly known by its acronym “ARD”, is a diversionary program that allows an individual to serve a non reporting term of probation, without a plea of guilty, and receive a dismissal and expungement of the criminal charges upon successful completion of their probationary term. We all know the program is great but what happens when you don’t complete the probation successfully? The answer is that your case is removed from ARD all together. Not a palatable prospect.
When the District Attorney’s Office in the county that has jurisdiction over a client’s criminal offense seeks to remove them from ARD they will file a “Petition to Remove From ARD”. Each county may very a bit in its practice but the formal filing of a petition is required. There are myriad reasons why the Commonwealth may seek to remove. These include, but are not limited to: failure to pay fines, failure to make restitution, failure to complete drug and/or alcohol treatment, failure to report to probation officer, fleeing the jurisdiction, failure to perform community service, and being arrested for a new charge while on ARD probation.
The above list is viewed with varying degrees of severity by the Commonwealth and some violations will be almost an automatic removal while some may be easily remedied by just paying money for fines or restitution. While this is true there is a large area where whether a violation(s) results in a removal will rest in large part on legal counsel that the client has been wise to retain. Simply put, a criminal attorney skilled in this particular area can save a clients right to move through life with a clear criminal record rather than get jammed up with a felony or misdemeanor that involves probation, large fines, and possible jail time. Its an understatement to say that there is just too much to risk.
When faced with an possible ARD removal, an individual would be wise to look for the following in selecting an attorney: 1) Someone with extensive experience with ARD; 2) Preferably someone who’s practice encompasses the county you are in; 3) If possible, an attorney that has a working relationship with the attorneys that handle these removals for the Commonwealth. Examples being Karen Ricca, Esquire and Tracey Potere, Esquire in Montgomery County and Patrick Carmody, Esquire in Chester County.
If you are fortunate enough to be admitted into ARD, you must pull out all the stops to stay in ARD.