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Delaware County ARD Program | Top Rated Delaware County DUI Attorneys

Town Law Publishing May 28, 2024

ARD Bucks County

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program in Delaware County, PA, is designed to rehabilitate first-time, non-violent offenders and offer them a chance to avoid a criminal conviction. This pre-trial diversionary program aims to promptly dispose of charges and eliminate the need for costly and time-consuming trials. Here is an in-depth look at the ARD program in Delaware County, covering eligibility requirements, application process, and program conditions.

Overview of the ARD Program

The primary purpose of the ARD program is to rehabilitate offenders, enabling them to avoid a criminal conviction and the associated consequences. It is available to carefully screened defendants, typically first-time offenders who are amenable to treatment and rehabilitation and are unlikely to reoffend. The District Attorney (DA) of Delaware County, upon application by the defendant through their counsel, may request the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County to place the case into the ARD Program.

A defendant may be considered for the ARD Program if they have no history of prior delinquency or criminal activity or have led a law-abiding life for a substantial period before the current offense. Both the police officer involved and the victim have opportunities to provide input on the defendant’s eligibility. Ultimately, eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis and is at the sole discretion of the DA.

Eligibility Requirements for ARD

To be considered for the ARD program in Delaware County, defendants must meet several requirements:

  1. Representation by an Attorney: Defendants must be represented by an attorney to ensure their rights are protected. Those without financial resources to retain an attorney should contact the Office of the Public Defender of Delaware County.

  2. Waiving Arraignment: Defendants and their attorneys must complete the Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Arraignment Form. This form is available from the Magisterial District Judge.

  3. Fingerprinting: Defendants must be fingerprinted by the arresting agency or the Criminal Investigative Division of the DA’s Office.

  4. Payment of Program Costs: Defendants must be prepared to pay the costs of the ARD Program on the day of their official entry unless an agreement is made with the DA’s Office.

  5. Compliance with ARD Conditions: Defendants must comply with all conditions set by the DA’s Office, including probation, community service, restitution, and any special conditions or evaluations required.

Costs of the ARD Program

Defendants must pay the costs associated with the ARD Program. These costs are approximately $1,600 for non-DUI cases and $1,800 for DUI cases. Payment must be made by cash, money order, MasterCard, Visa, or MAC on the day of ARD placement unless waived by the DA or the Court. Additionally, state law mandates a monthly probation supervisory fee.

Conditions of the ARD Program

Upon acceptance into the ARD program, the conditions will be detailed in a letter to the defendant and their counsel. These conditions typically include:

  • Term of Probation: Up to two years, but usually between six and twelve months.

  • Community Service: Required hours of community service.

  • Restitution: Payment of restitution, if applicable.

  • Special Conditions: Completion of specific courses or evaluations.

DUI-Specific Guidelines

For DUI cases, the ARD program has specific guidelines:

  1. CRN Evaluation: DUI defendants must undergo a Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation.

  2. Alcohol Safe Driving Classes: Completion of these classes is required.

  3. Community Service and License Suspension: Depending on the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), defendants face varying levels of probation, community service, and license suspension:

    • BAC 0.08%–0.099%: 6 months probation, 16 hours community service, no license suspension.

    • BAC 0.10%–0.159%: 12 months probation, 24 hours community service, 30-day license suspension.

    • BAC 0.16% or higher, drugs, accident with bodily injury, or refusal: 12 months probation, 32 hours community service, 60-day license suspension.

    • Minor (under 21 years): 12 months probation, 24 hours community service, 90-day license suspension.

Defendants are ineligible for ARD in DUI cases if:

  • They caused an accident resulting in serious bodily injury to someone other than themselves.

  • They left the scene of an accident.

  • There was a child under 14 in the vehicle.

  • They were uninsured and had a history of license suspensions.

  • Their actions seriously endangered another person.

  • A civilian victim opposes the ARD.

Non-DUI ARD Eligibility

For non-DUI cases, defendants are ineligible if:

  • They had an ARD or criminal conviction within the past 10 years.

  • The case involved death or serious bodily injury.

  • The case involved a child or vulnerable adult, ethnic intimidation, sexual offenses, kidnapping, human trafficking, or hazing.

  • The case involved drug manufacturing, sale, or possession with intent to distribute.

  • A firearm was used or possessed.

  • The case involved robbery, arson, residential burglary, or theft of property exceeding $10,000 in value.

  • The case involved obstructing governmental operations, witness intimidation, threats to public safety, or animal cruelty.

Application Process

To apply for ARD, defendants must:

  • Waive formal arraignment.

  • Submit the Attorney’s Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Arraignment Form, ARD Rule 600 Waiver Form, and ARD Application at least 14 days before the scheduled arraignment.

  • Accept a delayed pre-trial conference date approximately six months after the formal arraignment.

  • Waive Rule 600 and speedy trial rights from the date of formal arraignment through the pre-trial conference date.

ARD Program Compliance

Once placed into the ARD program, defendants must comply with all program conditions. This includes regular payments towards program fees and costs, completing community service, and adhering to probation conditions. Non-compliance may result in removal from the program and prosecution of the original charges.

Expungement

Upon successful completion of the ARD program, defendants must initiate the expungement process to have the offense removed from their criminal history. This does not occur automatically and requires the defendant to file for expungement.

The ARD program in Delaware County offers first-time, non-violent offenders a valuable opportunity to avoid a criminal record and rehabilitate. By meeting the eligibility requirements and fulfilling the program’s conditions, defendants can achieve dismissal of their charges and expungement of their records. If you or someone you know may qualify for the ARD program contact our office today for a free consultation.

Note: All applications and associated forms must be submitted at least 14 days before the scheduled formal arraignment to ensure timely processing and consideration.