Philadelphia, PA criminal defense attorney Brian Fishman explains the benefits of the Accelerate Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.
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The ARD program it stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition but the ARD program is key in Pennsylvania. It is essentially, a get out of jail free card for first time offenders of low level, non-violent misdemeanors. It’s most often applied to DUI offenses however, it could be for possession of narcotics, it could be for retail theft, it could be for some sort of lower misdemeanor theft case. But if you have not been convicted in the past of any prior crime, you may be eligible for entry into the ARD program. And depending on what county you’re in, you will have different conditions to complete as part of this pre-trial program.
Those conditions could include community service. They could include the payment of fines and costs. They could include reporting to a probation officer, drug testing, in the cases of a DUI you have to take alcohol safe driving classes and undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation. But if you complete all the conditions of the ARD program the great benefit is number one, you’re not looking at any jail time. Number two, you’re not looking at any criminal record because the charges will be withdrawn by the prosecutor upon completion. And ultimately, you can have those charges expunged off of your record as if it never happened.