If you have been charged with a criminal offense, the first priority would be to select an attorney. Then see if your case is eligible for the ARD program.
ARD stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. It is a program for first-time offenders involving non-violent offenses. There are several qualifiers to be accepted into the program. ARD is definitely something you should be shooting for. Why? Because if you successfully complete the ARD program, your case will result in a complete dismissal of the charges against you! Why this is so significant is that a dismissal of the charges against you is the legal equivalent of getting a not-guilty from a jury trial. As anyone who has faced a criminal case can tell you, it is not an easy goal to accomplish. It is doable but difficult to say the least.
What qualifies for acceptance into the ARD Program? One would be if you are a first time DUI offender. If you have no prior DUI’s and you did not have an accident with the DUI, you may be eligible for this program. Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully goes out of his way from the Preliminary Hearing on to talk with the police and prosecutors to have your case considered for this program. Our goal is to have you get through the system with a minimal intrusion into your life.
Your case cannot be accepted into the ARD Program at the Preliminary Hearing. It has to go, by law, to the next level which means that your case has to be held for Court and go into the system. After that time, if you are eligible for the program, normally you find out about it shortly after that Preliminary Hearing. Surely by the next step in the proceedings, which is called the Formal Arraignment, you will be told whether you are eligible for the program or not.
If you are eligible for the ARD Program, the next step after the Preliminary Hearing will be the Formal Arraignment. At your arraignment you will be assigned to go and meet with the District Attorney’s office for an interview to determine your eligibility for the program. This involves a lot of background information that you have to provide them. One example would be the name of a contact (or two) that they could call if there is a need for that. Sometimes they ask you where you work and who your immediate supervisor is.
It is important that you keep in mind that you must provide this information to the District Attorney’s office if you wish to be accepted into the program.
It is also important to keep in mind that there is a reason why they make you go through these different steps leading up to your acceptance into the program in front of a Common Pleas Judge. The Courts want to impress upon you the seriousness of the charges against you and to let you know in no uncertain terms that you are legally getting a break in your case. So to get that break you have to go through a series of legal hoops.
Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully has been practicing for over 30 years and we can say we have encountered situations similar to yours, although each case is different, and there is no guarantee of a favorable result in your case.
Hopefully you understand that experience matters a lot in criminal cases. If your case could be accepted into the ARD Program, it is important to remember that it will result in complete dismissal of the charges against you. And that ain’t too shabby!
Call us for a free consultation regarding your criminal charges. Even if you are not eligible for the ARD Program, there are a series of other programs that you may be eligible for. Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully is here to help you. Let us put our 30+ years of criminal trial experience to work for you!
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Bernie the attorney