ARD and Drug Possession in Pennsylvania

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition in Pennsylvania

Minimizing the Consequences of a Drug Conviction

If you have been charged with or convicted of violating Pennsylvania’s drug laws, you may have legitimate concerns about the effect it will have on your life. In addition to fines and other penalties, you may now have a criminal record, which can limit your employment options or disqualify you from eligibility for government programs, loans or certain types of housing. However, you may be eligible for reduced or alternative sentencing under the state’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. This can have a significant impact on your future, helping you minimize some of the stigma of a criminal charge and rebuild your life.

What is the ARD Program?

Recognizing that almost anyone can make one foolish mistake, Pennsylvania enacted the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. To qualify, you must be a first-time offender. The fact that a drug offense is your first arrest will not necessarily grant you access to the ARD program. Your eligibility to participate in ARD is exclusively at the discretion of the district attorney in your county. If you qualify, however, you can avoid potential incarceration and can also keep a conviction off your permanent record.

If you are accepted, the district attorney will specify requirements that you must meet to complete the program. These can include:

  • Substance abuse evaluation and treatment
  • Routine drug testing
  • Community service
  • A period of probation

If you successfully complete the terms set forth by the district attorney, any charges against you will be dismissed and your record will be expunged.

ARD in Drug Cases

Prosecutors across Pennsylvania have shown a willingness to make the ARD process available to first-time drug offenders, based on the seriousness of their crime. If you have been charged with simple possession, without the intent to sell or distribute, ARD may be a viable option.

Contact Attorney John Neumann Hickey

I have more than two decades of experience protecting the rights of people in Media and the surrounding communities. Contact me online to set up a free initial consultation.