The Buck’s County Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (“A.R.D.”) is a pre-trial intervention program for first time non-violent offenders. A.R.D. is not a conviction and does not require a defendant to serve mandatory jail sentences associated with certain convictions.
In order to be eligible for A.R.D., you must be a first time offender. You are not a first time offender if you have ever been convicted of any misdemeanor or felony crimes in this or any other state or jurisdiction (including military tribunals) or if you have ever been placed on A.R.D or its equivalent in this or any other state or jurisdiction. Charges such as Possession of a Controlled Substance, Theft, Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance (“D.U.I.”) are typically appropriate for the A.R.D. program. The A.R.D. Application outlines basic eligibility requirements for the Bucks County A.R.D. program; however, a recommendation for placement into the A.R.D. program is at the sole discretion of the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.
If you are accepted into the A.R.D. program and fail to comply with any of your A.R.D. agreement conditions or are arrested for or convicted of a new offense, you will be removed from the A.R.D. program and the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office will file a praecipe to have your case listed for trial on the original charges.
If you are accepted into the A.R.D. program for an offense of D.U.I., under Section 3802 of Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code the A.R.D. disposition will be considered a prior conviction for sentencing purposes, and will increase the mandatory sentence for each subsequent D.U.I. offenses within the next ten (10) years from the date of the A.R.D. agreement.
If you would like to apply for the first-time offender A.R.D. program, you must:
1. Waive your preliminary hearing; and,
2. Submit a completed A.R.D. Application to the assigned Magisterial District Court.
3. Submit a completed ARD Information Form with your A.R.D. Application to the assigned Magisterial District Court.
If your application for A.R.D. has been rejected, and you wish to seek reconsideration of your application by the District Attorney’s Office, the reconsideration request must be filed in writing and mailed or delivered to the District Attorney’s Office prior to your listed trial date. Your request will be reviewed by the assigned Assistant District Attorney when that case is listed for trial. The District Attorney’s Office will not respond to any reconsideration request made by phone, phone message, or email.
Both the A.R.D. Application and the Waiver form for the Preliminary Hearing can be found on this website and printed out and taken to the assigned Magisterial District Court on or before your scheduled Preliminary Hearing.
Individuals accepted into the A.R.D. Program are required to complete at least 10 hours of community service. Community service must be verified by the Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Department. It is the responsibility of the A.R.D. participant to submit a completion letter to the Bucks County Adult Probation Department from the agency’s community service program director indicating your community service has been completed. Under no circumstances will on-line community service be accepted.
A.R.D. costs policy:
In order to be placed on ARD:
- those defendants with privately retained counsel must pay $1.000 towards their costs on the date they are placed on ARD
- Defendants with public defender representation and those who are pro se must pay
– $500 on DUI cases
– $300 on non DUI cases
These cost assessments do not reflect the total amount of costs owed by defendants placed into the ARD program, rather just the fee to be placed into the ARD program.
Clerk of Courts will thereafter advise all defendants placed on ARD what their court costs balance is, to be paid in full within eleven (11) months of being placed into the ARD program.
All defendants (who are not declared indigent by the court) will pay the same amount of costs on like cases regardless of who represented them at the time of ARD placement.
This policy has been in effect since April of this year. Most defense attorneys have followed this policy to the letter since the change in policy went into effect. The policy was changed in order to benefit all ARD defendants so that they no longer have to pay costs in their entirety before being placed in the ARD program. It is expected that all attorneys practicing in this county properly explain this policy to their clients when contemplating ARD for their clients.
Effective April 1, 2013: Upon successful completion of your A.R.D. agreement, the Court will automatically dismiss the charges against you and your criminal record will be expunged pursuant to Rules 319 and 320 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.