In some cases, it is within the discretion of the District Attorney to allow defendants to participate in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.
In certain circumstances, the law precludes a defendant from participating in the ARD program. Some examples of those circumstances include:
- an accident occurred resulting in death or serious bodily injury;
- defendant had a passenger under the age of 14 years old in the vehicle at the time of the offense;
- defendant was convicted of or received ARD for DUI within the past ten (10) years unless the previous charge was an ungraded misdemeanor AND was a first offense.
Although cases other than those precluded as above set forth are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the law permits the District Attorney for each county to set more restrictive policies on allowing offenders into the ARD program. Some examples of the policies that limit availability to ARD in Luzerne County include:
- a previous conviction (including ARD) for any offense within the past ten (10) years;
- two or more prior convictions (including any ARD) of any kind regardless of remoteness in time from the current offense;
- for driving offenses, operating a vehicle without a valid driver's license, proper insurance or valid registration;
- fleeing from police in any way relating to the current offense;
- committing certain other serious motor vehicle violations at the time of the current offense;
- offenses involving acts of violence against or contempt for law enforcement;
- offenses involving theft from government, volunteer, or charitable entities;
- any offense with circumstances where the District Attorney determines ARD is not an appropriate resolution.
In addition, the District Attorney may have other requirements that may disqualify an offender from the ARD program.
ARD is not by any means a "slap on the wrist." In addition to any relevant terms and conditions placed on the offender by the District Attorney or Judge, the program, at a minimum, will consist of the following:
- 1 to 12 month license suspension;
- Community service;
- Enhanced Probation and Supervision;
- Attendance at Alcohol Highway Safety School and its costs;
- Court Reporting Network evaluation;
- Costs of Prosecution including testing, lab and exert fees;
- Court and Administrative costs; and
- Additional Treatment when recommended by evaluators; and
- Any fines a judge may impose.
If you would like to apply for entry into the ARD program, the following form must be completed and submitted to the District Attorney's ARD Coordinator and approved by the office.