In Pennsylvania, there’s another route for dealing with a DUI called the ARD program. ARD stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition and it's unique to Pennsylvania. This program is for first-time offenders, including DUI offenders, who would like to avoid the lengthy process of a trial and accept some alternate consequences.
Who is eligible for the ARD Program?
If this DUI is your first offense, you may be eligible for the ARD program in the state of Pennsylvania. If this isn’t your first DUI, you will not be eligible for the program.You won’t be eligible for the ARD program if your DUI caused the serious injury or death of anyone other than yourself. You can’t participate in ARD for your DUI if you had a child younger than 14 years old in the car with you at the time the DUI was committed. In either of these cases, you’ll proceed as usual in a criminal court for the DUI.
Should I participate in the ARD program to avoid more serious DUI consequences?
Just because you’re eligible for the ARD program for your DUI does not mean you should accept it. If your attorney thinks that you can have the DUI charge dismissed, it may not make sense to participate in the ARD program that does have some consequences. If you accept the ARD program, you’re not admitting guilt, but further DUI charges will be treated more severely.
What will I have to do as part of the ARD program for my DUI?
If you’re placed in an ARD program, it’s very similar to being on probation for your DUI. You won’t serve jail time for the DUI, but you will receive supervision for a period of up to 2 years. If you complete the required conditions of the ARD program, your criminal DUI charges will be dropped. It will be as if you were never charged with DUI and you’ll have a clear record.
What happens if I don’t comply with my ARD program?
If you don’t fulfill the requirements of your ARD, you will be faced with the DUI charges you were trying to avoid. Noncompliance includes not attending supervision meetings, failing to attend a court-mandated DUI school, failing to make court-ordered restitution for your DUI, or otherwise violating any condition of your ARD required by the court. When you’re in violation of your ARD program, your DUI charges will be reinstated and you’ll go to court. You’ll be prosecuted on the original charges and you’ll be sentenced if convicted of the DUI so the importance of completing the program successfully is paramount.
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