Skip to Main Content

Pennsylvania Criminal Law

ARD & Specialty Courts

"The primary purpose of [Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)] is the rehabilitation of the offender; secondarily, the purpose is the prompt disposition of charges, eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming trials or other court proceedings." Pa.R.Crim.P. Committee Introduction to Chapter 3.

The rules for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition can be found at Pa.R.Crim.P. §§ 300 et seq.

ARD procedures may differ by county. See the county's court rules for more information. Additional information may be available on the county's website:


See also:


Specialty courts, also called problem-solving courts, work to treat the underlying cause of the misconduct instead of incarceration. In Pennsylvania, select counties have established specialty courts like drug courts, mental health courts, and veteran's courts.

A partial list of problem solving courts in Pennsylvania is available on the Pa Courts website. Additional information on specialty courts may be available on the county's website or through the county's District Attorney's Office.


Five County Criminal Practice Pennsylvania Bar Institute

  • Philadelphia County: Information on Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (AMP), ARD, Domestic Violence Diversion, Drug Treatment Court, DUI Court, Intermediate Punishment, Mental Health Court, Project Dawn Court, Sexual Education and Responsibility (SER), Small Amount of Marijuana (SAM), Summary Diversion Program, The Choice is Yours (TCY), and Veteran's Court.
  • Bucks County: Information on ARD, Drug Court, and Veterans Treatment Program.
  • Chester County: Information on ARD, Drug Court, Intermediate Punishment Program, and Mental Health Court.
  • Delaware County: Information on ARD, Intermediate Punishment, Treatment Court, Veteran's Court, and Young Offenders Program.
  • Montgomery County: Information on ARD, Behavioral Health Court, Drug Treatment Court, and Veterans Treatment Court.


Law review articles can provide more information on specialty courts. HeinOnline provides access to over 1350 law reviews and bar association journals. Here are a few articles to start with:

  • Peggy Fulton Hora, Courting New Solutions Using Problem-Solving Justice: Key Components, Guiding Principles, Strategies, Responses, Models, Approaches, Blueprints and Tool Kits, 2 Chap. J. Crim. Just. 7 (2011)
  • Corey Shdaimah, Taking a Stand in a Not-So-Perfect World: What's a Critical Supporter of Problem-Solving Courts to Do?, 10 U. Md. L.J. Race, Religion, Gender & Class 89 (2010).
  • Jami Vigil, Building a Culturally Competent Problem-Solving Court, 45 Colo. Law. 51 (2016)