WHAT HAPPENS IF I VIOLATE MY ARD PROBATION IN PENNSYLVANIA?
On your first DUI or criminal case in Pennsylvania, you may have felt a sense of relief upon receiving an offer for admission into the ARD program. Over time, you may have lost track of your ARD probation conditions and have failed to complete them before your probation ends. As a result, your probation officer may have notified the court about your non-compliance, prompting the court to schedule an ARD Probation Violation Hearing. This article is designed to provide an understanding of the ARD Revocation process and ways in which a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney may be able to assist you in resolving your case in a favorable manner.
ARD Probation Violation and Revocation Procedures
If you have violated the terms of your ARD Probation, the court will schedule an ARD Probation Violation hearing. You will be required to attend this hearing, and your failure to attend will lead to the issuance of a warrant for your arrest.
At your hearing, the Commonwealth must establish that you have violated your ARD Probation in some manner. If this occurs, the supervising judge can either extend your probation, or kick you out of the program. If your probation is extended, you will have additional time to come into compliance with your conditions. You should bear in mind that the maximum allowable period of ARD probation supervision is 2 years, so the court cannot keep you on ARD probation for more than this timeframe.
If the Court elects not to extend your probation, then you will be removed from the ARD program when the judge signs the revocation order. The District Attorney’s Office now has 1 year from the date you are revoked from the ARD program to bring your case to trial. As such, your case will “start-over,” where you will receive a notice regarding the scheduling of a pre-trial conference, status conference or other hearing depending on the county.
The time for self-help is over. Contact and Hire a Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney ASAP
This is the first and most common-sense piece of advice to anyone facing a probation violation. Even if you did not hire a lawyer to handle your ARD case, the first step you should take if you’re facing an ARD Probation Violation is to speak with a criminal defense attorney in your area. An attorney can review potential options, communicate with the probation department or District Attorney’s office regarding your violations and advocate for you in court during your violation hearing. It is extremely important to get an attorney involved early in the process to help increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
New Criminal Charges
It is a condition of your ARD probation to not get trouble with the law. If you are charged with a new criminal offense, your probation officer may seek to have you revoked from the ARD program. It may be possible to avoid an ARD revocation if your new criminal charges are resolved with a summary plea at the preliminary hearing phase of prosecution.
If you’re facing new criminal charges, you will need to hire a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney to represent you on your new charges and to assist with representation on your ARD probation revocation hearing. Your attorney may be able to resolve your new charges in a favorable manner, allowing you to continue with ARD on your first case. However, if you are revoked from the program, you will need representation anyone on all future legal proceedings.
Failure to Pay Fines, Court Costs and Restitution
One of the most common reasons for an ARD probation violation is a person’s failure to pay off their fines, court costs and restitution. Depending on the county, court costs and fines typically range from approximately $1,500 to $3,000, and your failure to make regular payments can lead to you having a substantial unpaid balance when your ARD probation expires.
If you have violated your ARD probation as a result of not meeting your financial obligations, and you have not been charged with any new crimes, you should make immediate arrangements to pay off your fines and court costs in full. Whether you borrow money from friends or family, take out a personal or home equity loan, borrow from a 401k or pension plan, or put the balance on a credit card - paying off your case balance may help to keep you from being revoked. You should discuss this course of action with your criminal defense lawyer.
Failure to complete your CRN Evaluation, Drug & Alcohol Evaluation and Treatment and Alcohol Highway Safety School.
If you entered the ARD program on DUI charges, you were required to complete your Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation, Drug & Alcohol Evaluation and anywhere from 12.5 to 24 hours of Alcohol Highway Safety School classes. The failure to complete any of these requirements will lead to you being in violation of your ARD probation. Your attorney may be able to coordinate with various county agencies to facilitate your completion of these requirements before you’re revoked from the ARD program.
Failure to complete Community Service
Depending on the county or nature of your charges, you may have been required to complete a certain number of community service hours. Some counties require that your community service provider fill out a special form or provide a letter on their letterhead documenting the completion of community service. If you have already completed community service, you must provide documentation to your probation officer. If you have not completed community service, your attorney may be able to pursue an extension of your probation to give you additional time to complete the necessary hours.
Failure to report or complete other specialized probationary conditions
Depending on your charges, you may have been required to meet other specialized probationary conditions, including mental health counseling, anger management counseling, or other treatment components. The failure to abide by these conditions may lead to your revocation from the ARD Program.
HOW THE ZUCKERMAN LAW FIRM CAN HELP THOSE FACING AN ARD PROBATION VIOLATION OR REVOCATION FROM THE ARD PROGRAM
It may be possible to avoid a probation violation. If you were already revoked from ARD, it may be possible to get you back into the program. If you are facing an ARD Probation Violation in Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania, contact the Zuckerman Law Firm immediately at 412-447-5580 to schedule a free telephone consultation.
The Zuckerman Law Firm has helped clients under the following scenarios:
Successful extensions of probation to allow further time to comply with conditions;
Securing release from incarceration after failing to appear at probation violation hearing;
Successful arguments to close probation on cases where conditions met prior to violation hearings;
Successful negotiations to re-admit clients into the ARD program even when they were revoked;
Successfully pursued the dismissal or reduction of new criminal charges to prevent revocation from the ARD program.
Don’t delay - call 412-447-5580 now!