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Most first-time offenders charged with driving under the influence (DUI) are eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. The purpose of the Chester County ARD program is to allow first-time offenders and other law-abiding citizens a chance to avoid criminal prosecution and ultimately have their case dismissed. After successful treatment, rehabilitation, and probation, a defendant will be entitled to file a petition to expunge his or her case. For a first-time offender arrested for DUI or any other crime, ARD is usually the best option.
Acceptance into the ARD program is not automatic, and there is no constitutional right to participate in ARD. The District Attorney will consider the facts of the case, the defendant’s criminal history, the seriousness of the charges and receive input from the officers and any alleged victims involved. Eligibility is determined by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office on a case by case basis.
If you were recently arrested for a DUI or any other criminal offense in Chester County, you should consult an attorney to see whether you may be eligible for the ARD program. Skinner Law Firm helps individuals achieve the most favorable outcomes in their criminal cases, including successful admission and completion of ARD.
Our defense attorneys are experienced with various ARD cases, including DUI and theft offenses. For a review of your case, call (610) 436-1410 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
The purpose of the Chester County ARD program is to permit the prompt resolution of certain criminal offenses without the need of costly litigation and trials. It is a diversionary program for most first-time offenders. Although ARD is available for non-DUI cases, the overwhelming majority of ARD cases involve DUIs.
In order to be eligible for ARD, you must waive your preliminary hearing and submit an application for ARD. DUI cases will be given a “fast track” date, which is approximately eight weeks out from the date of the preliminary hearing. For non-DUI cases, an ARD date will be scheduled upon approval.
After you have applied for the ARD program, the District Attorney’s Office will review the application and case file. If approved, your case will be scheduled for ARD admission. Upon successful completion of ARD, the criminal charges will be dismissed. Once dismissed, you may then petition the court for an expungement.
All DUI candidates who wish to enter ARD in Chester County will be placed on probation for at least six months. You must undergo a Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation and complete the Alcohol Highway Safety School (AHSS) program. Some individuals may be required to complete a comprehensive drug and alcohol assessment and any recommended treatment.
DUI candidates who enter the ARD Program in Chester County will be assigned a minimum of sixty hours of community service. Additional community service hours may be imposed in certain circumstances. However, up to sixty hours of community service is waivable upon completion of certain conditions. For most clients, this means that you will not have to perform any community service.
For non-DUI ARD cases, the District Attorney’s Office may impose more community service hours and a longer term of probation. Depending on the case, individuals may be required to serve up to two years of probation. For these reasons, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal attorney to determine the likely outcome of your case.
Every alleged DUI offender who participates in the ARD program must complete a term of probation of at least six months (possibly longer) and serve a license suspension as follows:
ARD participates are expected to pay all fines and costs upon admission into the ARD Program. This includes a monthly probation supervisory fee and any possible restitution.
Participants must comply with all rules and regulations of the program in order to successfully complete ARD. Upon successful completion, ARD participates will be eligible to have their record expunged.
Failure to comply with the rules of the ARD program may result in the original charges being reinstated and set for trial. Common violations include, but are not limited to, the following:
Chester County Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Unit — This section of the District Attorney’s website lists the people who serve as the Chief and Supervisor of the county’s ARD Program. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions and download the ARD Program application forms.
Chester County District Attorney’s Office
201 West Market Street, Suite 4450
P.O. Box 2746
West Chester, PA 19380-0989
Upon successful completion of ARD, you may file a petition to expunge your criminal arrest from your record. There are numerous agencies throughout Chester County and the state that may have some record of your arrest. Having an experienced attorney guide you through this process will ensure that your record is properly expunged. At Skinner Law Firm, we work hard to make sure your record is properly expunged so that you may put this matter behind you as fast as possible.
Are you facing criminal charges in Chester County for the first time? It is critical for you to seek legal representation immediately and see if you qualify for the Chester County ARD Program.
Skinner Law Firm helps clients with the ARD Program. Our criminal defense attorneys can provide a complete evaluation of your case. Call (610) 436-1410 or complete an online form to take advantage of our free initial consultation.