According to the PA Rules of Criminal Procedure, the primary purpose of ARD is the rehabilitation of the offender; with the added purpose being a shorter-than-average disposition of charges. Ordinarily, defendants eligible for ARD are, with some exception, first offenders who lend themselves to treatment and rehabilitation. Additionally, the crime charged is one that does not involve a serious breach of the public trust. ARD is intended to encourage offenders to comply with all terms and requirements of the program and offers the possibility of expunging the offender's record if he or she successfully completes the program.
An offender can apply for admission to the ARD program by requesting his or her attorney submit an application to the District Attorney's ARD Coordinator. That application is then reviewed by the Coordinator and Supervisor. Notice of the result will be sent to the offender or counsel. If denied, the offender can proceed to trial or enter a guilty plea. If approved, the assigned Assistant District Attorney will move for the offender's admission to ARD which may then be granted or denied by the Court.
For more information on preclusions and limitations to admission into the ARD program click here.