Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)

The purpose of the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (“A.R.D.”) Program is to take offenders who have not yet made crime a way of life and encourage a fresh start under the supervision of the court and probation officials.  Successful completion of the Program offers participants the possibility of restoring a clean record.  To qualify for A.R.D., the person must have a record free from serious criminal convictions and not be accused of a crime of serious violence.
The A.R.D. Program is designed to accelerate rehabilitation.  After a defendant is held for court by an issuing authority, a defendant may apply for the A.R.D. Program by completing an application either at his/her preliminary hearing, or at his/her formal arraignment.  If a defendant completes an application at his/her preliminary hearing, a defendant MUST elect to waive arraignment.  Once a defendant completes an A.R.D. application and waives arraignment, the District Attorney’s Office will send the defendant notice of the date for his/her A.R.D. hearing (A.R.D. hearings are scheduled for a date roughly 90 days after application).
If a defendant completes an application at arraignment, the defendant will be given the date of his/her A.R.D. hearing at arraignment. This will be the only notice a defendant will receive for his/her A.R.D. hearing. 
Once an application is submitted for the A.R.D. Program, the District Attorney will review the facts of each case, conduct a background investigation on the defendant, and, if applicable, seek victim input as required.  If the District Attorney does not recommend a defendant for A.R.D., the defendant will be sent notice of a new court date, and the case will be scheduled for trial.  If a person is an appropriate candidate, an A.R.D. hearing will be held and the District Attorney will recommend the case be considered by the court for the A.R.D. Program.  Again, this A.R.D. hearing will be scheduled for roughly 90 days after application. 
Prior to the scheduled A.R.D. hearing, a defendant is required to pay an A.R.D. Acceptance Fee as outlined on the back of these instructions.  This will not be all of the costs and fees associated with a case; a defendant will be responsible for the balance of those monies after admission into the program and before he/she may be successfully discharged.  Additionally, the defendant must pay all outstanding restitution prior to the scheduled A.R.D. hearing.  If a defendant fails to pay his/her costs and fees and/or restitution, he/she might be allowed one 30- to 60-day continuance to pay the required costs, fees, and/or restitution.  Otherwise, if a defendant fails to pay the required costs, fees and/or restitution, he/she will be rejected from consideration for the A.R.D. Program.
****  The A.R.D. Acceptance Fee, as well as any outstanding restitution, MUST be paid seven (7) days before a defendant’s scheduled A.R.D. Court date.  If a defendant fails to pay his/her acceptance fee, and any applicable restitution, prior to this deadline, a defendant will not be admitted into A.R.D. at their initial A.R.D. Court date; instead, a defendant may request a continuance, or their case will be rejected from A.R.D. consideration.  Regardless of whether a defendant pays prior to this deadline, a defendant will still be required to appear for his/her scheduled A.R.D. Court date.   There will be no exceptions to this rule.  ****
a. Acceptable forms of payment include payment by money order, certified check, bank check, or cash.  No personal checks or credit cards may be used.  When making a payment, please have your docket number available for faster service.
b. Credit card payments are also accepted online at – click on ‘eCommerce’ then click ‘ePay’.  If paying online, a defendant must pay ten (10) days prior to the A.R.D. Court date (instead of the required seven (7) days) to allow for processing.
Additionally, all applicants charged with a driving under the influence offense must, prior to the scheduled A.R.D. hearing, be evaluated using Court Reporting Network instruments (C.R.N. Test) issued by the department as required by 75 Pa. C.S.A. §3816(a).  If a defendant fails to complete the C.R.N. Test, he/she will be rejected from consideration for the A.R.D. Program.
The A.R.D. hearing will be held in open court in the presence of the defendant, their attorney, a representative of the District Attorney and any victims who attend.  At such hearing, if all court costs, fees and restitution are paid, the court will inform the defendant of the conditions of the A.R.D. Program.  The defendant will be told the following:
  1. Acceptance into, and satisfactory completion of, A.R.D. offers the individual an opportunity to earn a dismissal of the pending charge(s).

  2. After admission, should the person fail to complete the Program satisfactorily, he or she may be tried as provided by the law.  Further, should a person fail to complete the Program satisfactorily, any monies paid towards A.R.D. fees and costs are non-refundable; this money is forfeited in exchange for the opportunity to participate in the A.R.D. Program.

  3. The defendant must agree to waive his or her right to a speedy trial during the period of enrollment in the Program.

  4. If the defendant accepts the conditions and agrees to comply with the Program requirements, then the Judge may grant the request for A.R.D. and enter an appropriate Court Order.

  5. After admittance into A.R.D., all proceedings on the charge(s) are postponed during the term of the Program.

  6. The Court will issue an Order requiring the defendant pay all remaining fees (including supervision fees) and court costs, complete community service, and comply with all other rules and regulations of the Dauphin County Probation Office.  The length of the Program will be determined by the District Attorney, but shall not exceed two years.

  7. All persons placed in the A.R.D. Program for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be required to attend a Victim Impact Panel and four 4-hour Alcohol Highway Safety classes.  Additionally, if a license suspension applies, all persons placed in the A.R.D. Program for driving under the influence must surrender their license to the Court Clerk on the day they are accepted into the Program.

  8. After admittance into A.R.D., the defendant must attend an intake meeting through the A.R.D. Unit of Adult Probation.

  9. If the defendant successfully completes the Program, the defendant may make an application to the Court for an Order dismissing the charge(s).  If the request is granted, an appropriate Court Order will be issued discharging the defendant from probation and dismissing the charge(s).  Finally, once such Court Order is issued, the defendant may submit an application with the Clerk of Court to expunge his/her record.  This application will then be reviewed by the District Attorney.  If all requirements are met, a final Order expunging a defendant’s record will be submitted. 
Non-DUI Cases
DUI Cases
Indigent Defendants$500.00$750.00
Non-Indigent Defendants$1,200.00$1,500.00 

Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office
Dauphin County Court House
Harrisburg, PA 17101