Various counties across Pennsylvania administer the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. The program is intended for DUI (driving under the influence) offenders and other offenders as an alternative to standard criminal penalties. DUI defendants often seek ARD, but they must meet eligibility requirements to get into the program.
Typically, ARD is intended for first-time DUI offenders. This means that you may get into the program after 1 DUI, but 2 or more may make you ineligible. However, if your prior DUI offense was charged as an ungraded misdemeanor or was over 10 years ago, you might still be admitted to the program.
If you were recently charged with your first DUI, or your first DUI was a long time ago, talk to an attorney about ARD in your county. Our Philadelphia DUI defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long can help you apply to ARD. Call us today at (215) 302-0171 for a free case review.
ARD in Pennsylvania After First DUI
While ARD is often available for defendants for their first DUI, defendants with prior DUIs may also be eligible for the program under specific circumstances. However, even first-time offenders could be denied ARD if their case meets certain criteria. Our Philadelphia defense attorneys for multiple DUIs can review your case and help you figure out whether you can get into an ARD program or if you should pursue other options.
According to 75 Pa.C.S. § 3807, prosecutors may recommend defendants for ARD if they have not been found guilty of a DUI or gone through an ARD program within the past 10 years. Defendants charged with their first DUI and those who have DUIs from over 10 years ago are eligible for ARD.
Even if your DUI was more recent than 10 years ago, you might still be eligible for an ARD program. If your prior charges were for an ungraded misdemeanor DUI, and that prior offense was your first DUI offense ever, you could still be admitted to an ARD program.
Please note that defendants facing their first DUI could still be denied ARD. Defendants who caused an accident that caused serious bodily harm or death during their DUI incident are not eligible for ARD. Similarly, if you had a passenger in your vehicle under 14 years of age during your DUI incident, you will be denied ARD.
What Is ARD in Pennsylvania?
ARD programs are available across Pennsylvania, usually administered at the county level. Defendants seek ARD in the county where they are charged. So, if you are charged with a DUI in Philadelphia, you would apply to ARD in Philadelphia County.
Defendants who meet the eligibility requirements discussed above may be admitted to an ARD program. However, admission is not guaranteed even if you are eligible. While your attorney may advocate for your admission to an ARD program, the prosecutor must also recommend you to the program to be approved. Our skilled Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys can help argue to prosecutors that you should be recommended for ARD.
There may be numerous requirements in an ARD program. Many of these requirements are based on the defendant’s substance use and public safety needs. Successful completion of an ARD program may lead to the dismissal of your DUI charges, allowing you to start with a clean slate.
Requirements for ARD Programs in Pennsylvania
ARD programs may impose various requirements for different defendants. First, courts typically require defendants to complete education courses with an alcohol highway safety school. Defendants must also undergo an evaluation process to determine if they have serious alcohol abuse or addiction issues. Our Bucks County criminal defense attorneys can help you fully understand the extent of these requirements.
Depending on the outcome of your evaluation, you will be required to go through alcohol counseling and treatment. The extent and duration of your treatment will depend on your evaluation. If you have a more serious alcohol dependency issue, you may need more extensive counseling.
If you are admitted to an ARD program, you can expect to be under court supervision for at least 6 months and up to 12 months. You will also have to pay court and municipal costs, restitution, and other fees for the program.
Your license may also be suspended. If your BAC was below .10%, you will not have your license suspended. If your BAC was at least .10% but still less than .16%, your license will be suspended for 30 days. The suspension is increased to 60 days if your BAC was .16% or more, your BAC was unknown, there was an accident involving injury to others or property damage, or your DUI incident involved drugs. If you were a minor at the time of your DUI, your license will be suspended for 90 days.
What If I Break the Rules While in ARD in Pennsylvania?
Breaking the rules or failing to fulfill the requirements of your ARD program may result in your expulsion from the program. If you fail to complete any of the conditions imposed in your ARD program, your DUI offense will not be expunged. The prosecutor will proceed forward on your DUI charges, and you may face the standard criminal penalties.
Ordinarily, successful completion of an ARD program allows a defendant to avoid jail time and possibly have their charges expunged from their criminal records. However, failure to complete the program may mean being found guilty of your DUI charges and serving possible jail time. You will also be stuck with a DUI on your record. Our Northeast Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys can help you if you have trouble completing an ARD program.
Call Our Pennsylvania DUI Defense Attorneys for Help
DUI charges are no laughing matter, and courts will crack down hard on anyone suspected of driving under the influence. If you are charged with a DUI, our Delaware County criminal defense lawyers can hopefully help you into an ARD program. Call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 for an initial case evaluation.