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It’s My First DUI… I’ll Just Get ARD. Not Necessarily!

June 23, 2021

For many individuals facing a first time DUI, it is their first time ever being involved in the criminal justice system. In many circumstances, individuals facing a first time DUI will qualify for ARD. However, this is not the case in every first offense DUI case. There are certain issues that can arise in DUI cases that may prevent your acceptance into the program.

What is ARD?

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:

  • Court Reporting Network (CRN) Evaluation

  • Completion of Alcohol Highway Safety School

  • Payment of Court Costs and Fines

  • A period of license suspension ( 0 days for lowest tier DUI, 30 days for a middle tier dui. 60 days for highest tier dui, and 90 days if the individual is a minor

  • IMPORTANT: If you are a commercial driver you will lose your license for 1 year regardless of completing the ARD program.

  • Other requirements if mandated by the District Attorney's Office of the specific county where the defendant was arrested in.

Once an individual is approved and completes the ARD program, they can apply to have their record expunged so that they have no criminal background appear when applying to jobs, schools, housing etc.

How Can Someone Be Rejected from The Ard Program?

There are many situations that can arise from the facts of a particular DUI case that can prevent you from entering the ARD program. Some common reasons for rejection into are:

Excessive Speeding

Generally, If an individual is driving over 100 mph at the time of their arrest, there chances of getting into ARD becoming dramatically less likely.

Accident Involving Property Damage or Injury to Another Individual

If at the time of the DUI, your vehicle was involved in an accident that caused property damage or injury to another individual, you will most likely not be considered for ARD. It is important to note that if the only damage and/or injury was sustained by the individual charged with the DUI, they have a much higher chance of getting accepted into the program.

Excessive Blood Alcohol Content

If an individual’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is over .30, than it will be unlikely that the person will be accepted into the program. In a situation where your BAC is over the highest threshold (.16), it is advisable that the you seek drug/alcohol treatment in order to increase your chances of getting accepted and to help deal with any issues you may be facing with addiction.

Prior Criminal History

ARD is normally designated for genuine first time DUI offenses and for individuals with no prior criminal record (absent minor traffic violations). There are situations where, if you were convicted of a minor offense several years prior to the DUI and have not been charged with crime since that offense, you may still qualify for acceptance into the program

A Minor Was in The Vehicle at The Time of The Stop

If a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the DUI, the chances of your acceptance into the program are greatly reduced.

Who Can I Call if I Have More Questions About ARD?

At The Town Law, we understand just how stressful facing criminal charges can be. With our vast experience handling DUI 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 chance possible of getting into ARD. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. Our staff of experienced attorneys is dedicated to the best outcomes for all of our clients.