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Montco ARD Chief: First-Timers Only

montco_courthouseThe Chief of Montgomery County’s ARD Division, Assistant District Attorney Karen Ricca, says the program is strictly for first-time offenders. “A defendant cannot have any type of record for felony or misdemeanor convictions.  It’s a non-violent first-time mistake.”

She says ARD stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, and it’s a pre-trial program.

“We remove these cases from the court docket to free the court up to try the more serious felony cases and violent crimes, so that’s the accelerated part.  Rehabilitative, I used this term to a Public Defender’s client the other day when they were complaining about the amount of Community Service that they had to do in order to receive an ARD disposition and I said, ‘This is like detention.’”

Ricca says people who get ARD have to do a couple of Saturdays of Community Service, and that’s the rehabilitation part.  The disposition is that people get probation instead of jail time for their offenses, typically DUI or thefts of items valued at less than $5,000.  Non-violent first-time offenders pay fines and costs, do community service and spend a year on probation.  After that, she says, they can walk away with a clean record and answer questions truthfully on an application for a job or college.

“If the question is, ‘Have you ever been convicted?’ and you have received an ARD disposition, the answer to the question honestly is ‘no’ because ARD is not a conviction.  ARD is a pre-trial disposition.  You’re not admitting guilt.  Then again you’re not maintaining your innocence.  What you’re saying as a defendant is that I’ve reviewed the evidence the government has against me and they’ve offered me a first-time offender’s probation.  I will take that.”

If the question is “Have you ever been arrested?” Ricca says the answer is “yes,” and it should be followed with an explanation that you got an ARD disposition.  She appeared Wednesday on the WNPV talk program Legally Speaking.
WNPV AM 1440 As you plan your holiday shopping, think about the "Top 10 Reasons to Support Locally Owned Businesses" from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (www.ilsr.org): Environmental Sustainability. Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution. "Shop Locally for the Holidays!"
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WNPV AM 1440 As you plan your holiday shopping, think about the "Top 10 Reasons to Support Locally Owned Businesses" from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (www.ilsr.org): Competition. A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
Institute for Local Self-Reliance ilsr.org Building Community, Strengthening Economies
WNPV AM 1440 As you plan your holiday shopping, think about the "Top 10 Reasons to Support Locally Owned Businesses" from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (www.ilsr.org): Product Diversity. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices. "Shop Locally for the Holidays."
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WNPV AM 1440 Tune in tonight at 7:55 PM for WNPV's first broadcast of the year of Gwynedd Mercy University Men's basketball.
WNPV AM 1440 Big sports weekend coming up! Start tonight with Downingtown East at Quakertown high school football at 6:30 PM. Tomorrow, we have Temple at Penn State starting at 10:30 AM (sorry, no "Premium Adjustment" this month! :(), followed by the final NASCAR Nationwide Series race, joined in progress. Sunday, it's the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race with the crowning of this year's Champion, starting at 2 PM. So stay tuned to 1440 AM all weekend ... or listen live online at www.wnpv1440.com.
WNPV AM 1440 High School football tomorrow night on WNPV: Downingtown East at Quakertown at 7 PM. Tune to 1440 AM or listen live online at www.wnpv1440.com.

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