Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is a program that is designed to avoid lengthy court proceedings and afford defendants the opportunity to have their records expunged upon successful completion of the program. The ARD Program is most often associated with first time DUI offenders; however, first time offenders charged with other relatively minor legal infractions can also be offered ARD. The District Attorney’s Office must offer the program to the defendant in order for the defendant to be eligible. The defendant is afforded the opportunity to accept the program or deny it.
In first time DUI cases the defendant is frequently offered the ARD Program. When the DUI charged resulted in bodily injury to another, a minor under the age of 14 years old was present in the vehicle at the time of the stop, or the defendant fled the scene of the crime the ARD Program is not typically offered.
Once a defendant is offered and accepts the ARD Program the defendant must successfully comply with the stipulations of the ARD Program or the original charges will be reinstated against the defendant. ARD is very similar to probation. A defendant that accepts ARD will have a probation officer assigned and normally will be required to complete community service and pay fines. Successful completion of the ARD Program will result in the underlying criminal charge, typically DUI, being withdrawn.
Just because a defendant is eligible for and offered the ARD Program does not mean that the defendant should automatically accept the invitation. Prior to accepting ARD for any criminal charge a defendant should meet with a competent attorney to fully and completely review his or her case and the circumstances surrounding it. There might be a way to having the matter dismissed in its entirety. If you have been charged with a criminal offense do yourself a favor and contact the Law Office of Casey P. Mullen. Attorney Mullen will personally meet with you to discuss your case and your legal options. After a careful review of your case, Attorney Mullen will assist you in deciding the best course of action to take.