The pre-trial diversionary program allowing first time, non-violent offenders to earn a dismissal and expungement of certain criminal charges.
For those unfamiliar with Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (A.R.D.), the pre-trial intervention program provides first time, non-violent offenders the opportunity to clear select charges from their records and avoid jail time. The district attorney’s office is ultimately responsible to determining the eligibility and in addition to considering the criminal charge itself, the individuals must be deemed low-risk to re-offend. Some of the most common charges deemed eligible for A.R.D. include theft/shoplifting, possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence, vandalism and similar misdemeanors.
Once accepted into the program, there are several requirements one must follow. Like probation, A.R.D. participants are closely supervised and must illustrate their commitment to restitution and steady employment. In some cases, a substance abuse or similar program may be required. Those who fulfill the A.R.D. mandate can have the charges wiped clean from their record. But not all individuals are successful in meeting the A.R.D. requirements. In such instances of failed compliance or if arrested on a new charge, individuals are removed from the program and face the original charges at trial.
A.R.D. was created with the goal of rehabilitation in place of punishment. However, the upfront costs were prohibitive to some individuals who might otherwise be eligible for the program. Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub has recently introduced the use of payment plans to make the program more affordable and only after the fees are paid in full will the individual’s criminal record be expunged.
If you find yourself charged with a misdemeanor and have questions about A.R.D. eligibility, you should seek experienced legal counsel. To schedule a confidential consultation with the attorneys at Neff & Sedacca, P.C., contact the firm by phone at 215-563-9800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.