The ARD program stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. Under the ARD program, a driver charged with a DUI can avoid a criminal conviction by agreeing to certain penalties and maintaining program conditions. The ARD program for many drivers is a preferable option because they complete the terms of the program and avoid a criminal record.
DUI ARD in Pennsylvania
The ARD program is available for a number of offenses in Pennsylvania. However, among the most common offenses are drunk driving arrests. The DUI ARD program is generally available for first-time offenders who were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This generally requires completion of a one-year (12-month) supervision period.
After a preliminary hearing or arraignment, the defendant can file an application with the District Attorney's office for reconsideration under the ARD program. If accepted, the defendant will be notified of the ARD court hearing. Failure to appear to the ARD hearing can result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest and denial from the ARD program.
DUI ARD Enrollment
The ARD program and enrollment vary by county. However, in general, an application may not be approved for drunk driving offenses if:
- The driver has more than 1 DUI conviction within the prior 10 years;
- The driver does not have prior misdemeanor, felony, or ARD disposition;
- An accident occurred in connection with the DUI and an individual other than the defendant was killed or suffered serious bodily injury;
- There was a passenger under the age of 14 at the time;
- The driver refused a chemical breath, blood, or urine test; or
- The driver's license was not suspended, revoked, or canceled at the time of arrest.
Before an ARD application can be approved, the defendant must be fingerprinted and must be free and clear of all arrest warrants, including traffic docket warrants.
Pennsylvania DUI ARD Program
In place of jail time or parole, the ARD program generally consists of a 1-year probationary period. The terms of the program may depend on the driver's blood alcohol level, and could include:
- Mandatory Alcohol Highway Safety School (DUI school)
- Mandatory license suspension
- 30 days if BAC is between 0.10%-0.159%
- 60 days if BAC is 0.16% or higher or driver was under the influence of drugs
- No suspension if BAC is below 0.10%
- Fines and court costs
- Drug and alcohol screening program evaluation (CRN Evaluation) and participation in drug/alcohol treatment as required
- Community Service
After the one-year probationary period, if the driver has completed all the terms of the ARD program, the Adult Probation and Parole Office will forward a petition to the DA's office and the Court of Common Pleas to request the criminal charges be expunged.
An arrest for a DUI does not have to end in a criminal conviction. Successful completion of the DUI ARD program for first-time DUI arrests can get the criminal charge expunged from your record. Criminal defense attorney David J. Cohen is devoted to representing the people of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas. Contact the David J. Cohen Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation.