Typically, defendants applying to the ARD program seek the assistance of a lawyer to prepare the ARD application and support the admission process. While the specific requirements change from case to case depending on the nature of the crime, the requirements are generally as follows: Legal counsel can also help determine if the application for the ARD program is the best given the individual`s circumstances. As such, the program aims to immediately resolve charges against individuals who are good candidates for rehabilitation. In drug cases, you can also use ARD to avoid the harmful consequences of suspending a driver`s license under Pennsylvania law. All the facts and circumstances contained in the defendant`s application will be taken into account by the District Attorney in determining whether a plaintiff will be admitted. The Accelerated Rehabilitation Program (AD) is overseen by the Head of the ARD, who reviews criminal cases for possible admission. ARD is a unique program approved by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, usually for first-time offenders who have no previous criminal convictions or previous ARD injunctions. The primary objective of the ARD program is to resolve charges in a timely manner, thereby eliminating costly and lengthy litigation and other legal proceedings. The program is designed to identify offenders who are available for treatment and rehabilitation and effectively remove their cases from the criminal justice system, freeing up resources that are best used elsewhere. Defendants charged with a DUI are not eligible in certain circumstances. These include: In addition, successful applicants in the ARD program can answer “no” to questions about whether they have been convicted of a crime.
The idea is to find defendants who are good candidates for rehabilitation and treatment and speed up the process, rather than letting the case go through the criminal justice system and spending unnecessary state resources. “Offenders eligible for the ARD program are first-time offenders who make themselves available for treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment [if] the accused crime is relatively minor and does not constitute a serious breach of trust. The program is designed to encourage offenders to make a fresh start after participating in a rehabilitation program and gives them the opportunity to have a clean record if they successfully complete the program. “In general, a person must waive their preliminary hearing and formal indictment in order to obtain the ARD. All parties involved in the case (i.e., police, victims) then have the opportunity to comment on the request. If approved, the applicant is usually tried, ordered to pay fines and costs, and perform community service. Successful applicants will be accepted into the ARD program by a Common Plea Judge. In order for a defendant to have his or her case reviewed under the ARD program, he or she waives his or her right to preliminary proceedings. The defendant does not have to admit wrongdoing when applying to the ARD, but must plead guilty to all administrative offences, usually violations of the Motor Vehicle Code. The court may impose fees and assessments, but not a fine. Approximately 90% of ARD participants were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Typically, your lawyer collects personal information from you and then helps you complete the district-specific RAT application.
Once the application is completed, your lawyer will file the application directly with the prosecutor`s office no later than the date of your preliminary hearing. In addition to the application, an experienced lawyer submits a cover letter explaining to the DA who you are, what happened in your case, and why your case should be included in the ARD program. At your preliminary hearing, your lawyer will speak to the police officer who asked you for their position on ARD accommodation, and if they have any concerns, your lawyer will try to convince the police officer that the ARD is appropriate in the circumstances. After speaking to the police officer, your lawyer will speak to the deputy district attorney in charge of your case to find out their position on ARD. If everyone is on the same page and it seems that the ARD is the appropriate way to resolve your case, you will have to forgo your preliminary hearing. If you have been charged with impaired driving, you will need to undergo a CPR assessment after you have waived your preliminary hearing to determine if you have a substance abuse problem and whether drug and alcohol counselling would be required if you were accepted into the RAT program. Essentially, if you have been charged with a relatively minor offence – usually DUIs, possession of a controlled substance for personal use, or possession of drug paraphernalia, etc. – if you are included in the ARD program, your file will essentially be put on “hold” for a period of time. While your case is pending – usually one year – the court sets out certain requirements that you must meet within that time frame. If the conditions are met at the end of the ARD period, the court will inform you that your case may be completely dismissed and removed from your criminal record.