What to know about Philadelphia’s Administrative Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program and the Most Common ARD Eligible Crimes & Offenses
Our criminal defense law firm often represent people in Philadelphia who have no criminal history and who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. In other matters many simply don’t exercise proper judgment. Unfortunately, none of these excuses are a legal defense! An arrest, however, doesn’t necessarily mean a lifelong criminal conviction, even if the evidence is overwhelming.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (“ARD”) is a pre-trial diversion program for people with limited or no prior criminal conviction history. While, the District Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia exercises discretion in offering admission into ARD, your criminal defense lawyer, in most cases, needs to advocate on your behalf to gain admissions to it. Even if the DA’s office supports the application, a Judge must admit you into program.
Mandatory ARD conditions include the following:
- a period of supervision by Adult Probation and Parole office
- courts costs,
- waiver of the appropriate statute of limitations and right to a speedy trial under any applicable Federal or State constitutional provisions, statutes, or rules of the court during the period of enrollment in the program.
- DUI-ARD participants must complete a CRN evaluation prior to ARD placement and sentencing.
- Discretionary conditions can include other rehabilitative tools like anger management or community service.
- ARD is for a period of six (6) to twenty-four (24) months.
What happens if you don’t complete the ARD program
If successful, the charges are withdrawn and ARD participants can have the criminal history record information expunged though an automatic process initiated by the First Judicial District, or file an expungement petition with a copy of a completion letter provided by their probation officer. If an ARD participant is arrested and/or convicted of a new criminal offense or fails to satisfy all ARD conditions imposed, then the participant is entitled to a hearing where participation may be terminated and the charges taken to trial.
The ARD Process
Step 1: Request ARD Consideration
- Your criminal defense lawyer most cases need to ARD request consideration for ARD. If the case is with a special prosecution unit like Economic Crime or Family Violence/Sexual Assault, the request must first be made to the special prosecution unit.
Step 2: ARD is Offered
- The District Attorney’s Office’s Diversion Unit conducts an individual review for every ARD request. The review includes an FBI background check, Police Arrest Report, and if provided, any mitigating information. On occasion, the Diversion Unit contact your criminal defense lawyer for additional mitigating information or verification of information provided.
- If you are accepted into ARD, the DA will contact your defense lawyer with the proposed terms and conditions.
Step 3: You are Admitted into the ARD program
- Once you execute the ARD agreement, it will be filed with the First Judicial District and it will schedule an admission’s date. Your attorney will provide the court date to you.
- On the court date, the Judge will make the final decision to enter an applicant into ARD. Approved cases are connected to Adult Probation and Parole Department (APPD) to begin the ARD program. Rejected cases are given a trial date.
Step 4: Complete ARD
- ARD is completed when the participant provides proof of completion of their conditions, full payment of costs, and completion of supervision time. APPD provides a successful completion letter and the case is eligible for automatic expungement. In some instances, ARD can be successfully completed early through the completion of conditions and payment of costs.
- If the participant violates ARD conditions with a new arrest, a hearing will be scheduled to determine if the participant should remain in ARD or be removed and listed for trial. If the term of supervision ends before the participant completes all the terms, a hearing will be scheduled to determine if the participant should be allowed to complete the terms or if the case will go to trial.
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Common ARD Eligible Crimes & Offenses
Never assume that you are not eligible for the ARD program. In addition, never accept the ARD if you have not discussed all of the elements of the offense or crime of the criminal charge.
This is list of the some of the common crimes that are eligible for ARD consideration and the elements that the prosecution would need to establish beyond a reasonable doubt.
§907 – Possession of an instrument of crime (M1)
- Possesses any instrument of crime.
- Instrument of crime: Anything specially made or specially adapted for criminal use or
- Anything used for criminal purposes and possessed by the actor under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful uses it may have.
- Weapon concealed upon his person.
- Weapon: Anything readily capable of lethal use and possessed under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful uses which it may have.
- With intent to use it criminally (specific intent).
- In the course of committing a felony or in attempt to commit a felony, he wears or uses body armor or has in his control or possession any body armor.
§2701 – Simple Assault (M2)
- Attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, or
- Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.
- Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
- If committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent.
- If against child under 12 by adult over 21.
§2705 – Recklessly endangering another person (M2)
- Recklessly engages in conduct which places or may place another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury.
- Commonwealth must prove that the defendant had an actual present ability to inflict harm and not merely apparent to do so.
§2706(a)(1) – Terroristic threats (M1)
- Communicates a threat directly or indirectly to
- (a)(1) Commit any crime of violence with intent to terrorize another,
- (a)(2) Cause evacuation of a building, or
- (a)(3) Otherwise cause serious public inconvenience.
- Communicates is defined in the statute to include a variety of written & electronic means.
- F3 – Threat causes occupants of building to be diverted from their normal or customary operations.
§2709(a)(1) – Harassment (S)
- With intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another , and
- (a)(1) Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise subjects the other person to physical contact, or attempts to do the same.
- Followed the victim in or about a public place or places, or
- Engaged in a course of conduct or repeatedly committed act which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no legitimate purpose.
§3304 – Criminal mischief
- Damages tangible property of another, or
- Intentionally, recklessly, or by negligence is in the employment of fire, explosives, or other dangerous means (listed in causing catastrophe), or
- Intentionally or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, or
- Intentionally defaces or otherwise damages tangible public property or tangible property of another with graffiti.
- Intentionally damages real or personal property of another.
- F3 – If pecuniary loss > $5k intentionally caused
- M2 – If pecuniary loss > $1k caused
- M3 – If pecuniary loss > $500 intentionally or recklessly caused or > $150 for intentionally defacing tangible public property with graffiti.
- Otherwise it is a summary.
§3503(b) – Defiant Trespasser (M3)
- Knowing (certain) that s/he was without license or privilege enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given by:
- (i) actual communication to the defendant, or
- (ii) posting in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, or
- (iii) fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.
- If defendant defies an order to leave personally communicated to him/her by the owner of the premises or other authorized person, it is an M3. Otherwise, it is a summary offense.
- The place was abandoned.
- The place was at the time open to members of the public and the defendant complied with all lawful conditions imposed on access to or remaining in the place.
- The defendant reasonably believed that the owner of the place, or other person empowered to license access thereto, would have licensed him/her to enter or remain.
§3903 – Theft Grading (M1 charged)
- F2 – Property is taken as a firearm.
- For Receiving Stolen Property, property received is a firearm and receiver is in business of buying or selling stolen property.
- F3 – Property > $2k, or in an auto/airplane/motor-propelled vehicle.
- For Receiving Stolen Property, if receiver is in the business of buying or selling stolen property.
- M1 – If property is taken from the person or by threat, or the property is $200+
- M2 – If property is not taken from person or by threat and the property is $50-$199
- M3 – If property is not taken from the person is by threat and the property is < $50.
§3921 – Theft by unlawful taking or disposition
- Unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over movable property of another with intent to deprive him thereof.
§3922 – Theft by deception
- Intentionally obtains or withholds property of another by deception.
- Person deceives if he intentionally
- Creates or reinforces a false impression
- Prevents another from acquiring information which would affect his judgement of a transaction, or
- Fails to correct a false impression which deceiver previously created or reinforced.
§3925 – Receiving Stolen Property
- Intentionally receives, retains, or disposes of movable property of another knowing it has been stolen or believing it has probably been stolen unless the property was received, retained, or disposed with intent to restore it to the owner.
§3928 – Unauthorized use of automobiles (M2)
- Operates the auto/motor-propelled vehicle (operation required) of another without consent of owner.
- Defense: Defendant reasonably believed the owner would have consented.
§3929 – Retail Theft
- Taking merchandise offered for sale with intent to deprive merchant of possession, use, or benefit without paying the full retail value.
- Includes: altering price, trans container, or under-ringing merchandise with intent to deprive merchant of full value.
- F3 – 3rd subsequent offense or value over $2000 or firearm or vehicle.
- M1 – 1st or 2nd offense and value of merchandise is $150 or more.
- M2 – 2nd offense and value less than $150.
- S – 1st offense and value is less than $150.
§5902 – Prostitution and Related Offenses
- The defendant is an inmate of a house of prostitution or otherwise engages in sexual activity as a business, or
- Loiters in or within view of any public place for the purpose of being hired to engage in sexual activity.
- M3 – 1st or 2nd offense.
- M2 – 3rd offense.
- M1 – 4th or subsequent offense.
- F3 – knew that he/she had HIV/AIDS;
- Owns or manages a whore house, procured an inmate for the whore house, caused another to be or remain a prostitute;
- Compels another to prostitute;
- Promotes prostitution of a child under 16;
- Promotes prostitution of a person for whom the defendant is responsible;
- Promotes prostitution of someone who the defendant knows has HIV/AIDS.
§6108 – Carrying Firearms on Public Streets or Public Property in Philadelphia
- No person shall carry a firearm, rifle, or shotgun at any time upon the public streets or upon public property unless
- They are licensed to carry, or
- They are exempt from carrying a license under the Uniform Firearms Act (6106b)