What Is ARD In Criminal Law?

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Program, otherwise known as ARD, is a program offered in criminal court to first time offenders. The goal of the program is to successfully rehabilitate the offender to prevent them from entering the criminal system again. If ARD is completed successfully, the record of the offender is expunged. This is extremely beneficial to people to be able to obtain employment for the future. While ARD is very similar to probation, it differs in that the offender never pleads guilty. ARD is not an admission of guilt. In fact, if ARD is not completed successfully, the District Attorney can petition the court to have the offender removed from the ARD program. At that point the case proceeds through the court system.

Typical cases in which ARD is offered include driving under the influence of alcohol, drug possession, and retail theft. ARD can last between six (6) to twenty-four (24) months depending upon the allegations. Furthermore, it is a program that must be offered by the District Attorney for the offender as it is a program run by the District Attorney's Office. The District Attorney on the case may require community service and/or various treatments. An offender is also required to pay off all fines and costs associated with the case during the ARD term.

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