Throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, individuals get arrested for Driving Under the Influence. Unfortunately for some, they get arrested not once, but multiple times throughout their lives for this offense. With DUI penalties becoming more severe with the more prior DUIs an individual has, it is important to know that ARD can greatly impact not just your first DUI, but any subsequent DUI you receive after that.
Throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, various counties offer to first time DUI offenders the option of applying for ARD. ARD is short for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. It is a 6-12 month program that involves the completion of:
Payment of Court Costs and Fines
IMPORTANT: If you are a commercial driver you will lose your license for 1 year regardless of completing the ARD program. If you have a CDL, make sure you inform your DUI attorney of this fact immediately.
Other requirements if mandated by the District Attorney's Office of the specific county where the defendant was arrested in.
It is important to note that, the ARD program is often managed by the District Attorney's Office and NOT by the court. What this means is that your specific DUI case may be accepted or rejected depending on the specific facts of your case. Reasons for rejection of an ARD application may include:
Accident involving property damage or injury to another individual
Excessive Blood Alcohol Content
Prior Criminal History
A child under the age of 14 was in the vehicle at the time of the stop
Nature of the DUI
The Superior Court Decided a Recent Landmark Case of Commonwealth v. Chichkin, that a prior acceptance and completion of ARD does cannot count as a prior conviction for purposes of sentencing a defendant on their subsequent DUI charge . This 2020 Superior Court decision is a major change in policy. Prior to this decision, an ARD admission and completion would be viewed as a prior conviction and therefore a new DUI would count as a second offense for the purposes of sentencing.
Unfortunately, this Superior Court decision has absolutely no impact on license suspensions pertaining to DUI convictions. Penndot is administrative agency and they do not acknowledge the criminal case law stating that ARD does not count as a prior DUI offense. If you successfully complete ARD and get a new DUI charge, PENNDOT will treat it as a second offense for the purposes of determining how long your license will be suspended for.
At The Town Law, we understand just how stressful facing criminal charges can be. With our vast experience handling criminal cases throughout Bucks County, Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania, we are well-equipped to ensure you get the best result possible with seasoned DUI attorneys by your side throughout the process. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. Our staff of experienced DUI attorneys is dedicated to the best outcomes for all of our clients.