ARD in Lancaster County, PA
A.R.D.(Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) is a program designed as an alternative to trial, conviction and possible mandatory jail sentence. Upon successful completion of the program, charges are dismissed.The benefits of ARD include:
-No jail time.
-No criminal record.
-A significantly shorter driver’s license loss.
Some of the negatives about ARD are:
-It’s expensive- In Lancaster County there is a $600 initial fee payable to the County of Lancaster, followed by additional expenses once accepted into the program. Total costs can be slightly different for each case but plan to spend between $2,000 and $2,500 throughout the term of the program.
-You have to give up important rights, such as the right to a speedy resolution of your case and the right to have a preliminary hearing. You also lose the right to challenge any aspect of the Commonwealth’s case against you.
-The requirements of ARD are not easy- it usually includes community service and completion of an Alcohol Highway Safety class in a timely fashion.
You should speak with an experience attorney before making the decsion whether to enter into the ARD program.
Within 30 days from the date of the complaint, you must do the following:
1. Appear before the Magisterial District Judge to WAIVE your preliminary hearing.
You will receive a preliminary hearing date from the Judge’s office. Your attorney should send a letter of representation to the assigned Judge to inform him or her that you have discussed the case and that you will be appearing to waive your hearing with the intention of applying for the ARD program. When you do appear, the Judge’s staff will be expecting you and should have everything ready for you to sign.
2. Complete an ARD application and submit it to the Office of the District Attorney.
Your attorney should do this for you. Your attorney will already have most of the information needed to submit your application. .
3. Schedule a CRN (Court Reporting Network) evaluation.
Your attorney should schedule the CRN evaluation. If the scheduled date conflicts with your schedule, just contact your attorney and they can rescheduled for you.
Within six (6) months from the date of the complaint, you must do the following:
- Complete the CRN evaluation. If the assessment indicates a need for additional treatment, that treatment must be scheduled with a licensed treatment program.
- Successfully complete the Alcohol Highway Safety School. There are four (4), 3.5 hour long classes. Do not be late. If you arrive late, they won’t let you in and you may be forced to repeat the classes.
- Complete Community Service.
- Pay $600.00 to the Lancaster County Treasurer’s Office.
After you have successfully completed the above requirements, you will be scheduled to come to Court and be accepted into the 12 month ARD program. It is at this hearing that you will lose your license for 30, 60, or 90 days. Following completion of ARD, you will be entitled to petition to have your record expunged.
Occasionally, unforeseen problems will arise along the way with your application or some other aspect of the ARD requirements. Your attorney should be available to troubleshoot these problems and keep you on track towards your goal of completing the program.