by Attorney J.T. Herber, III
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, more commonly known as “ARD,” is a program offered to certain criminal defendants. In most circumstances, the individuals being offered ARD are first-time offenders, with no prior criminal history. Participants can only be offered admission into ARD by the District Attorney’s Office. Once individuals are offered admission into the program, a Judge also needs to approve each individual defendant for admission.
When an individual is admitted into the ARD program, he or she will be placed on probation for a period of time, and must comply with various terms and conditions of that probation. Additionally, when DUI charges are involved, the individual will need to obtain a Court Reporting Network (CRN – pronounced “crin”) evaluation, and may also need to undergo a full Drug and Alcohol Assessment.
The term of the ARD program varies, but is typically either 12 or 24 months. At the conclusion of that time period, if the defendant has successfully completed the terms of the program, he or she will have the criminal charges dismissed. Ultimately, this means that the individual has not plead guilty, nor was convicted of the criminal offenses that were charged. The dismissal of the charges is a huge advantage for participants in the ARD program. After all, if the person is ever asked if he or she has pled guilty to or has been convicted of a crime, the person can truthfully answer “no.” Furthermore, another major advantage of the ARD program is that upon completion of the program and dismissal of the charges, the ARD participant can file a motion with the court asking for the charges to be expunged. These motions are typically granted upon successful completion of the ARD program, and result in the issuance of a Court Order requiring all law enforcement agencies, the Magistrate, county court, and various other entities having records pertaining to the arrest/prosecution to expunge (delete/destroy) all pertinent records relating to the prosecution, and eliminates the records of the arrest from showing up on future criminal background checks that may be run for employment or other purposes.
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