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Resolve your DUI out of court through Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)

Being charged with a DUI can be an extremely stressful experience, especially if this is your first offense. You may wonder what the possible penalties are and if there's anything you can do to help yourself.

In Pennsylvania, the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program is an option for some first-time offenders. The program gives first-time offenders for some nonviolent and misdemeanor crimes, including DUI offenses, the chance to complete a rehabilitative program in exchange for dropping any criminal penalties.

The ARD program

The ARD program is tailored in part to the individual completing it, and the courts will look at the offense and the surrounding circumstances when determining the program's specific requirements. In general, you must satisfy the following requirements to complete the program:

  • Attend and complete a qualifying alcohol highway safety school.
  • Undergo an evaluation to determine the extent of the substance abuse problem.
  • Participate and complete in an alcohol addiction treatment program, if required.
  • Remain under court supervision for six to 12 months.
  • Pay any required restitution.
  • Pay any required court fees, costs and surcharges.

If your blood alcohol content (BAC) was more than .10 percent but less than .16 percent, your driver's license will be suspended for 30 days. The suspension can increase to 60 days if your BAC was unknown or .16 percent or higher, or if bodily injury or property damage occurred.

Completing the program

Once you have successfully completed the program, the charge against you will be dismissed and there will be no criminal penalties. Your criminal record will also be expunged by the judge, which means there will be no record of the offense if anyone, such as a potential employer, runs a background check. However, the case will go on to trial if you do not complete the program in full, and the possible consequences include a criminal conviction and the subsequent sentencing.

ARD is a great option if you won't be able get your case dismissed, but you'll need to speak with an attorney about your specific situation. Your attorney will be able to tell you more and help you apply for the ARD program if that's the best course of action.

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The Law Office of Joseph Lesniak, LLC

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