What is the ARD Program?
ARD stands for “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition”. It is a probation program for first-time offenders, with very few exceptions. Probation can last from 6 months to 2 years. Upon the successful completion of ARD, this criminal case can be removed from your criminal record after two years.
If you are facing a first offense DUI charge in Pennsylvania you may be want to consider an alternative to the traditional criminal court case and that is the ARD program. ARD stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. The ARD program was implemented by Pennsylvania to accelerate the court process in criminal cases such as first offense DUI’s that would not jeopardize the general public’s safety if the defendant were released back into society.
By admitting first time DUI offenders into the ARD program the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is able to avoid wasting scarce resources on lengthy court hearings and the defendant is able to have their DUI expunged from their criminal record two years after they are accepted into the ARD program. Only first time DUI offenders may be eligible for the ARD program. The district attorney makes the decision as to whether or not a defendant will be admitted into the ARD program. Just because you are facing a first offense DUI charge does not mean that you are automatically admitted into the ARD program.
How do I fill out this ARD packet and apply for the program?
1) Read pages 1 – 3. This is information for you regarding the program, costs, and the application process. YOU MUST READ PAGES 1, 2 AND 3 AND KEEP THEM.
2) Fill out Pages 4 – 6. This section requires personal information regarding you, your past criminal history (if any) and contact information.
3) Sign page 7, certifying that the information on pages 4, 5 and 6 is true.
4) Read and Sign the “Waiver of Speedy Trial” form. You cannot apply for ARD if you don’t sign this form.
5) Read and Sign the “Waiver of Arraignment” form. At arraignment, you would be read the charges against you, have a judge assigned to your case, and be assigned a pre-trial conference date. However, if you are accepted to ARD, you will receive the required information in the mail, and do not have to appear at arraignment.
What happens after I get my preliminary hearing court date?
If your attorney cannot get the DUI charges dismissed you should waive your preliminary hearing and arraignment by submitting your ARD application as soon as possible and within two weeks of your arraignment date. Usually five weeks after the preliminary hearing date you have an Arraignment which is also waived unless you receive notice from us that your ARD application has been denied.
A few weeks after the scheduled arraignment date, you will be sent a certified mailing advising of the back-up pre-trial conference date (usually six months after the arraignment date) and the name of the judge assigned to the case. The reason why the pre-trial conference date is set so far in the future is to allow sufficient time for the District Attorney’s office to review the ARD application. Generally, ARD hearings are scheduled anywhere from 3 to 6 months after the arraignment date. If the ARD hearing is not scheduled or if ARD is rejected, you must come to court for the Pre-Trial conference.
After you waive the arraignment date and you get a pre-trail date you should do all the following:
1. You also need to schedule a 30 minute CRN evaluation which costs $70.00. Please call Diagnostic Services at 610-891-4571.
2. Complete the required 8 of the 16 hours of community service by calling Mr. Walter Omar at 610-891-5317.
3. The on-line safe driving class can be obtained through safemotorist.com, and then clicking Pennsylvania as your choice of state. It is sponsored by the American Safety Council, and costs $19.95 which can be paid by credit card. If you do not want to do it on line you can schedule and complete safe driving classes by calling 610-237-8630.
4. Schedule an Alcohol Evaluation by calling by calling James Hanlon at 610-891-4571.
5. If you can afford to pay all the fines by the pretrial date you can make payment arrangements, on the day of pre-trail date.
6. Call Gregory J. Spadea, Esquire at 610-521-0604, if you have any questions.