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The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program is a diversionary program available in all sixty-seven Pennsylvania counties. The program is available to most first-time offenders, or offenders who have led law-abiding lives for a substantial amount of time. Under the terms of ARD, defendants can avoid mandatory jail time.
Upon completion of ARD, the defendant can petition the court to expunge his or her case. It essentially allows a defendant to have a “fresh start” and avoid having a criminal record. Although many types of criminal cases proceed into ARD, the overwhelming majority of ARD cases involve driving under the influence (DUI) offenses.
Each county structures its own ARD program, and eligibility is granted at the sole discretion of the District Attorney’s Office. It is important to remember that ARD is not a right. Rather, it is a privilege. Each case is thoroughly reviewed for consideration. The arresting agency and any alleged victims will also have an opportunity to comment on a defendant’s eligibility for ARD.
The District Attorney’s Office for each county sets its own rules and regulations regarding eligibility for ARD. For example, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office has published an ineligibility list for certain cases. While this list is not exclusive, certain facts of a case may nonetheless render a defendant ineligible for ARD.
Every DUI defendant who applies for ARD must serve a mandatory term of probation, complete the Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation, and the Alcohol Highway Safety School (AHSS) program. The CRN evaluation is a tool used by the Commonwealth to monitor DUI defendants and any need for further treatment. The AHSS is a safe driving program that educates defendants on the risks of inebriated driving. A comprehensive drug and alcohol assessment (along with any recommended treatment) may also be required in some cases. Defendants may also be required to perform community service.
If you have been arrested for DUI, you may be eligible for ARD. It is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible. Every county, including Chester County and Delaware County, has its own rules and conditions for ARD. Contact the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 to discuss your DUI arrest and eligibility for the ARD program in Pennsylvania.
Most DUI defendants will be subject to some form of license suspension. The driver’s license suspension under the ARD program is as follows:
A defendant whose license is suspended because of ARD cannot apply for an Occupational Limited License (OLL). In addition, refusal to submit to chemical testing carries an additional one-year mandatory license suspension. This additional one-year suspension is on top of the 60-day license suspension for ARD.
Upon successful completion of ARD, defendants can petition the court for an expungement of their case. Each county has multiple agencies which hold some record of an ARD case. For DUI offenders (who successfully complete ARD) the DUI charge will remain on their Pennsylvania driver’s history for ten years. After 10 years, the DUI charge will be removed from the record.
If you have been charged with a DUI or any other offense in Chester County, Delaware County, or Montgomery County, you may be eligible for the ARD program. It is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the particular facts of your case.
Call (610) 436-1410 or submit an online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation with Skinner Law Firm.