The Delaware County Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program offers a way for those facing certain charges to settle their cases quickly by serving a period of probation and following a few special conditions. After completing the program, many can have their record expunged. Most who qualify have no criminal history, although some with a previous record in the distant past may also qualify. The ARD program is most commonly used for those facing drunk driving charges, but it is available to those facing some other charges as well.
If you have questions about the ARD program in Delaware County, the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. can help. We can advise you on whether this is an option in your case and help you navigate the application process. Call us today at 610-680-7842 to learn more.
What are the benefits of the Delaware County ARD program?
It can take months after your arrest to navigate the criminal justice system and receive an outcome for your case. This is a stressful time for most, and the results are not always satisfactory. With the ARD program, you know quickly what penalties you face and can begin serving your probation almost immediately.
Because the program begins before your arraignment, you do not have to enter a plea. Enrollment in the program is not an admission of guilt.
The ARD program puts your pending charges on hold and, upon successful completion of the program, the prosecution will drop the charges against you. If you fail to meet all the conditions of the program, however, the prosecutor will likely move forward with the charges.
Successful completion of the program may also allow you to pursue expungement, clearing the charge from your criminal record. This is key for many of our clients. The ultimate goal for many people is to ensure they have a clean record when an employer, state licensing office, or other organization runs a background check.
Do I meet the preliminary requirements for the ARD program?
There are a number of preliminary requirements you must meet before we can request participation in the Delaware County ARD program.
No Criminal Record
Most people approved for the ARD program have no prior criminal record before their arrest. Others made mistakes in the past, but have a significant history as a law-abiding citizen since their last previous arrest. We can help you determine if we believe you may qualify based on your past criminal record.
Facing Eligible Charges
The vast majority of participants in the Delaware ARD program faced drunk driving charges or other alcohol-related offenses. However, you may qualify if you face charges for a number of other relatively minor, nonviolent offenses.
Access to Legal Counsel
You must have a DUI attorney to apply for the ARD program. Not only is it required, but it benefits you greatly. We can walk you through the application process and give you the best chance for acceptance into the program. We can also ensure your rights remain protected throughout the application process and as the program progresses.
You were most likely fingerprinted at the time of your arrest. However, if you were not booked into the jail and have no previous criminal history, they may not have your fingerprints on file. We can help you schedule a time for police to collect your fingerprints, if necessary.
Waiving Your Arraignment
A key part of the ARD program is that you do not have to enter a plea in your case. In order to make this happen, you must waive your arraignment. If we do not complete the proper forms and submit them to the court before your arraignment date, you will not qualify for the program.
How can I apply to the ARD program?
We can help you navigate the process to apply for the ARD program. It is important to know that the District Attorney’s Office rules on each application on a case-by-case basis and there is no way to guarantee approval for your request. During their review of your application, they will ask for comments from the arresting officer and any victims in your case.
They will look at the specific circumstances of your arrest and the charges against you. Based on this, your history, and the statement from the victim and their family, they will determine if you are a good candidate for the ARD program.
What are the conditions of the ARD program?
You must meet all the conditions of the ARD program to successfully complete the program and apply for expungement. To meet these conditions, you must:
- Report to the Office of Adult Probation regularly, as instructed;
- Report any changes in contact information immediately;
- Comply with all local, state, and federal laws;
- Comply with any directions issued by the court or the Office of Adult Probation;
- Notify your probation officer of any new arrests or citations within 72 hours;
- Notify your probation officer of trips outside the state lasting longer than a month;
- Submit to random drug and/or alcohol testing, if requested;
- Refrain from any actions which could cause harm to yourself or others;
- Pay all court fines, any restitution required, and a $40 monthly supervision fee;
- Complete an approved Alcohol Safe Driving course;
- Complete the ordered community service; and
- Complete evaluations requested by the court and follow all recommendations.
It is important to note the role community service and restitution play in your participation in the ARD program. When they admit you into the program, the District Attorney’s Office orders you to participate in a set number of community service hours and pay a set amount of restitution. Failure to complete these hours and pay this money during your probationary period will result in your expulsion from the program and your case will proceed to trial.
How can an attorney help me apply for the ARD program and clear my criminal record?
At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we can help you determine if the Delaware County ARD program is the best option for you. We understand the qualifications and can guide you through the application process. We can ensure you meet all applicable deadlines and file the right documents. We can also help you understand all conditions of the program and work with you to complete them successfully. After your satisfactory completion of the program, we can help you file to expunge your criminal record.
Call our office today at 610-680-7842 to speak to our DUI attorneys today.