DUI offenders in Pennsylvania may be eligible for the ARD Program. The Pennsylvania ARD Program provides first-time and repeat offenders with a chance to avoid DUI conviction on their permanent record.
ARD stands for “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition” — It is a pre-trial diversion program required by the State of Pennsylvania to promptly dispose of all charges for DUI offenders, as long as the conditions are met.
Many people have a misconception that the ARD DUI PA Program lets offenders off the hook, but it’s not that simple. Being in the PA ARD DUI Program is similar to being on probation for a DUI charge. An offender is not required to serve jail time but will be under court supervision. The state may order the offender to obtain Drug and Alcohol Evaluation, drug and alcohol treatment if necessary, community service, and probation.
The Court will dismiss the case of an offender who completes the Pennsylvania ARD Program after his or her probationary period. Legally, it’s as if he or she was never charged with DUI and will have a clear record.
Take note that not all DUI offenders are eligible to join the ARD DUI PA Program.
The county’s District Attorney must recommend a DUI offender into the PA ARD DUI Program. The goal of ARD is to offer offenders a rehabilitative program that will give them a fresh start. Typically, a first-time offender charged with a minor offense is eligible to join the program. However, ARD is really not a “one-time” thing.
An individual can be placed into the ARD program up to three times over a thirty-year period. What that means is, if you used it in 2000, then you are not eligible to use it again until 2011. If you used it in 2011 then not again until 2022. In essence, you can use ARD once, unless it’s been more than ten years since you used it the last time. If it has not been more than ten years in between, then you are not eligible to use ARD again. A person can not use more than three ARD Programs in their lifetime.
While ARD is not a one-time deal, it has many benefits. It would be unwise not to use it if the Court charges you with your first relatively minor criminal offense. This program can shorten your license suspension, lower fines, potentially clear your record, and prevent jail time.
Apart from all the benefits of ARD, an offender under the program can avoid the mandatory ignition interlock requirements. Some DUI cases require offenders to have an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they drive for at least one year.
Every ARD-DUI case must undergo a 6 month to 24 month period of supervision under the ARD Pennsylvania Program. The defendant’s alcohol and substance abuse are being treated with rehabilitation methods and community service.
Upon the successful completion of the ARD Program in Pennsylvania, the ARD offender may petition the court to have their charges expunged or sealed from the public records.
One of the often-overlooked aspects of the Pennsylvania ARD Program is the attendee license suspension. This ARD Program PA requires the Court to mandate license suspensions based on the offender’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels. These are the mandatory suspensions the Court implements for the ARD.
- BAC 0.8–.99 with no accident: no suspension
- BAC .10–.159 or BAC 0.8–.99 with accident: 30-day suspension
- BAC .16 and above: 60-day suspension
The state of Pennsylvania does not issue occupational licenses for suspensions under 60 days. Offenders who choose to use the ARD must serve their license suspensions in their entirety.
If you have DUI or ARD Program concerns, Panighetti Law can represent you. Justin Panighetti has been a DUI defense lawyer in Erie, PA for over ten years and has extensive experience. You will be provided with sound legal advice on the best course of action for your DUI case. Contact us today 814-806-6385