Legal Updates

What is Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition?

Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) is a common resolution to DUI First Offense and other non violent crimes in Philadelphia.  Eligibility is based on prior criminal records.  Eligible defendants are generally first time offenders charged with relatively minor offenses.  The ARD program enables the state to impose a more lengthy period of supervision than the AMP program.  The maximum period of supervision under ARD is two years probation.  Generally, AMP supervision does not exceed eight weeks.  This is is a critical difference between the programs.  Defendants are accepted into ARD at the discretion of the DA’s office.  A good defense lawyer will petition the DA’s office, and make the case for ARD, if they believe this would be an optimum disposition for defendant.

Prior to entering into ARD, the defendants must agree to serve probation with certain conditions.  The conditions depend on whether the alleged crime is a DUI, drug offense, or misdemeanor.  DUI offenders will be required to get alcohol treatment.  Drug offenders may be required to get drug specific treatment.  Defendant charged with simple assault may have a condition to attend anger management classes.  The conditions are fact specific to the crime in question, and your lawyer should be consulted to evaluate whether the conditions are appropriate for your alleged crime.

Defendants entering in the ARD program give up their right to a speedy trial.  Conditions of ARD also generally include payment of court costs, restitution, and treatment.  The probation department is primarily responsible for seeing that conditions are met.  The length of probation is dependent on the ADA’s perception of the severity of the crime.  If the defendant does not meet the conditions of ARD, the DA has discretion to remove them from the program and try the case.  The defendant may be removed from ARD if another crime is committed while on probation.

If ARD is successfully completed by the defendant, the original charges are dismissed by the presiding judge.  This means that the defendant has no criminal convictions on their record.  By Pennsylvania statue, they may petition the court to have the record sealed and expunged.

If you are a first-time offender in Pennsylvania it is important to be aware of the possibility of ARD.   Speak with a criminal defense lawyer about your case to see if your are eligible.  Call now at (267) 535-9776 to set up an appointment to discuss whether you may be eligible for ARD.