Trials in court are time-consuming and costly for everyone involved. Pennsylvania offers a unique pre-trial intervention program for first-time non-violent offenders that allows those accepted into the program to avoid a trial and jail time.
The purpose of accelerated rehabilitative disposition is to reduce the need for lengthy and expensive trials that overload the courts. It allows for a quick disposition of charges.
What is the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program?
The accelerated rehabilitative disposition program is not necessarily the same for everyone. The program depends on the charges. Typically, an ARD program includes probation, payment of fines and court costs and completion complete community service. Depending on the charges, a program could also include anger management classes, regular drug testing or highway safety school.
Who qualifies for the program?
First-time offenders charged with a non-violent crime may qualify for the program if they have no prior misdemeanor or felony convictions and if they have not gone through accelerated rehabilitative disposition before. Charges that are typical for this program include possession of a controlled substance, credit card fraud, vandalism, driving under the influence and theft.
What happens after the program?
When you complete the accelerated rehabilitative program successfully, the Court will dismiss the charges against you and you can petition the Court to have your criminal record expunged.
To apply for accelerated rehabilitative disposition, you must waive your preliminary hearing and arraignment. While a Common Pleas judge will decide on your acceptance into the program, police officers and others involved in the case may comment on your application.