It is just one of those simple facts of life that good people make bad choices.  If you fall into this category and your bad choice has caused you to be arrested and charged with a crime such as Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI), all is not lost.  You probably have a very good option available to you called the Accelerated Rehabilitative Program, or A.R.D. for short.

            A.R.D. is a “Pre-Trial Diversion” program established in the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 310, and is designed for first-time offenders with no criminal convictions.  “Pre-Trial diversion” means that your criminal prosecution is “diverted” from going to a Trial where you are determined to be Guilty or Not Guilty.  “First-time offender” means that you have not been convicted of any crime in the past.  Vehicle Code summary offense violations (i.e. speeding tickets or other moving violations) do not count as convictions which would disqualify you from ARD consideration.  If you qualify for ARD, you are placed on Probation even though you have not been, and will not be convicted of any crime.  Successfully completing the ARD Probation and conditions will cause the dismissal of the criminal charges.  Also, in Allegheny County unlike the surrounding counties, the District Attorney’s Office will automatically “expunge” or erase your criminal record.  Therefore, since proceeding to a trial provides no guarantee of being found Not Guilty, an ARD disposition is as close to a guarantee of a successful outcome as you will find in criminal law.

            To find out more about this program, contact me. I am available to be retained to discuss the particulars of your case and your options including ARD. 

Joseph Paletta