If you find yourself charged with your first drunk driving charge, you could be the beneficiary of a program called the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD. The Pennsylvania ARD program was originally designed and implemented in the 1980s for first-time drunk driving offenders.
The goal of the program is to take low-risk drunk driving offenders out of the court system and put them into a rehabilitative program to free up time and space for the more violent criminals who are an immediate danger to the public.
Some facts about the Pennsylvania ARD program
It is only for first-time drunk driving offenders and you only get one chance to complete the ARD program. Once you are admitted into the ARD program, you do not have to serve any jail time but you do undergo something similar to probation. You will be supervised for the two years you are in the ARD program while you work to complete the requirements. Here are most of the requirements associated with the ARD program:
* Suspension of your driver’s license (some cases)
* Complete 35 hours of community service within four months of beginning the ARD program.
* Complete an eligible DUI education class
* Go to a Victim Impact Panel
* Complete drug and alcohol evaluations
* Successfully complete any treatment that is recommended after the initial evaluations
* Pay all fees and fines associated with the DUI and ARD program.
While the initial time period for ARD program is two years, if you complete the requirements early, you may be able to work with ARD personnel and your probation officer to let you out early.
Am I eligible for the Pennsylvania ARD Program?
As stated previously, you must be a first-time drunk driving offender, but not all first-timers are eligible for the ARD program. To gain entrance, the District Attorney from the county where you are being charged must recommend you for the Pennsylvania ARD program.
Some aggravating factors surrounding your drunk driving arrest could disqualify you. Did you cause serious physical injury to another party? Did you cause extreme property damage? Were there any children under the age of 14 in your vehicle at the time of your arrest? Do any victims involved in your DUI object to your admittance? If none of these apply to your situation, you stand a good chance of qualifying for the Pennsylvania ARD program.
How will the Pennsylvania ARD program benefit me?
You would not serve any jail time. Once you have successfully completed ARD, your charge would be expunged from your record. However, if you are charged with Pennsylvania drunk driving again, at a later date, you would be seen as a habitual offender and penalized accordingly.
All things considered, you should definitely consult with an experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney. He will be very familiar with the Pennsylvania ARD program and can look at your Pennsylvania drunk driving case and determine if it would benefit you to fight your charge at trial or accept admittance into ARD.
If you win at trial and get arrested for another Pennsylvania drunk driving charge years later, you can still enter ARD because you did not do it the first time around. Your DUI attorney can help you weigh your options and advise you on your best course of action.
- Ignition Interlock Device for Drunk Driving Convictions in Oregon (duiattorneyhome.com)
- Drunk Driving and Hardship License in Mississippi (duiattorneyhome.com)
- MADD Online: The Pledge to Eliminate Drunk Driving (gloucestercitynews.net)
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