Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Office of the Bucks County District Attorney
ARD Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Do I have to waive my Preliminary Hearing at the District Court?
Answer: Yes. You must waive your Preliminary Hearing at the District Court in order to apply for A.R.D.
Question: Where do I get an application for A.R.D.?
Answer: You may obtain an application for A.R.D. at the Magisterial District Court where charges are pending. The application will be forwarded to the District Attorney's Office for you by the Magisterial District Court. There is also an application available on this website.
Questions: Must I also complete the A.R.D. Information Form?
Answer: Yes. Both the application and information forms must be completed and submitted to the Magisterial District Court and are also available on this website.
Question: Who decides if I get A.R.D.?
Answer: Your application will be reviewed by an ARD Coordinator and/or an Assistant District Attorney.
Question: What if I am rejected for A.R.D?
Answer: If A.R.D is denied, your case will be listed for trial.
Question: Do they ever reconsider a denied application?
Answer: If you would like your denied application reconsidered for A.R.D, you must submit a reconsideration request in writing. Address your written request to:
Bucks County District Attorney's Office
Bucks County Justice Center
100 North Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
Question: Can I just call or email someone to discuss my denied application?
Answer: No. The District Attorney's Office will not respond to email or phone call messages seeking reconsideration of a denied A.R.D application.
Question: I've been accepted into the A.R.D Program. Now what?
Answer: If you have obtained a private attorney to represent you, the following procedures apply:
Question: Why does a defendant with private counsel have to pay $1000.00 prior to be placed on A.R.D rather than the $500.00 or $300.00 that a public defendant client must pay prior to placement on A.R.D?
Answer: The previous A.R. D. policy required the costs for A.R.D. to be paid in full prior to the hearing date. The new A.R.D. policy provides a break and departure from the prior policy only requiring a payment of $1,000.00 to be placed in the program, with the balance due after you are in the program.
Question: Is the preliminary payment ($1,000.00 for defendants with private counsel, $300/$500 for all others) the total amount of costs/restitution that an A.R.D. defendant has to pay?
Answer: No. The preliminary payment is a good faith deposit that will be held in escrow and applied toward the balance of your court costs and restitution. Under the new A.R. D. policies you will then have 11 months to pay your costs and restitution in full after being placed on A.R.D.
Question: Where do I make my A.R.D payment(s)?
Answer: Payments are accepted by the Clerk of Courts Office:
Court costs, fines, fees and restitution are payable to the Clerk of Courts Office via check, cash, money order or Visa/Discover/MasterCard and Debit Card.
ePAY - You can make online case payments with a credit card using the Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System's ePAY. Go to http://ujsportal.pacourts.us and click on ePay under the eCommerce menu. (There is a $2.75 convenience fee for each transaction.) Additional information on how to use ePay can be found under the Help link on the ePay screen in the upper right corner.
You can also pay by phone with a credit card, including American Express at a toll free number 1-877-853-1060 or online at www.officalpayments.com. (A convenience fee will be added. Please see the website for the fee schedule.)
Payments for ARD will be accepted by the Clerk of Courts Office on the morning of your hearing date.
Question: What if I have a Public Defender, or want to represent myself?
Answer: Defendants with Public Defenders, conflict Counsel, or those who are representing themselves will be scheduled for the afternoon A.R.D. session, and the following procedures apply:
If you appear, and are not prepared to make the required A.R.D. payment on your re-listed trial date, your case will either proceed to either a trial or plea.
If you are financially unable to make the required payments and are claiming indigence (you are legally unable to pay) a hearing will be held to determine your ability to pay or if you qualify for reduced costs based upon your proven financial status. If you are claiming an inability to pay, you must bring with you supporting documentation as proof, such as a W-2 form, unemployment documentation, welfare documents, SSI documentation, etc.
Question: If accepted, how long will I be on A.R.D.?
Answer: Most defendants will be placed on a 12 month A.R.D. There is also a 6 month A.R.D. option.
Question: How do I get the 6 month A.R.D.?
Answer: To be placed on a 6 Month A.R.D., you must have prior approval from the District Attorney's Office. In order to be placed on a 6 month rather than a 12 month A.R.D, you will be instructed to go to the Clerk of Courts Office after the A.R.D hearing and pay the balance of your court costs and restitution. After doing so, you must then bring your receipt to the District Attorney's Office showing a zero balance, and we will at that time modify the agreement to a 6 month term, rather than a 12 month term. You must also meet the following conditions:
For DUI defendants - You must have completed your CRN evaluation, and all of your AHSS classes.
Complete Community Service elements and provide proof of such service on letterhead with supervisor contact information. WE DO NOT ACCEPT ONLINE COMMUNITY SERVICE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
All other conditions including treatment (Drug and Alcohol, Anger Management, Parenting Classes, etc) must be completed.
You are required to provide proof of completion of all required conditions on your A.R.D. date.
Question: What does Expungement mean?
Answer: Expungement is the process to "remove from general review" the records pertaining to an arrest, citation, or adjudication of summary or criminal charges. However, not all criminal records are eligible for expungement, and the records may not completely "disappear." Records may still be available to law enforcement as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and may still be considered a prior conviction for some purposes. It should also be noted that an Expungement will not remove information that was previously available on the internet or other media sources.
Question: Will my A.R.D be automatically expunged?
Answer: Yes. If you were granted A.R.D after April 1, 2013 your case will automatically be expunged once all conditions are met.
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