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Pennsylvania ARD Program (DUI)

ARD1 is a program that allows you to have the criminal charges against you dismissed if you complete the terms of the program. The District Attorney’s office in the county where your DUI occurred has sole discretion to admit you into the ARD program. You must apply for ARD with the DA’s office by filling out an application. You are eligible to apply for the DUI ARD program if you meet the following criteria:

  1. you have NOT been convicted of a DUI or placed on the ARD program for a DUI within the past 10 years from the date of the current offense;
  2. you were NOT involved in an accident causing death or serious bodily injury to another surrounding the circumstances of your DUI;
  3. there was NOT a passenger under 14 years of age in the vehicle that you were operating.

The DA’s office may deny you admission for reasons not listed above. Check the policies or guidelines of the DA’s office where the offense occurred.

If accepted into the ARD program, the DA will move for your admission into the program in-court at an ARD hearing. At this hearing the judge may accept you into the program. The court does not have the power to move for your admission into the program unless the DA’s office abuses its discretion2 in denying your application.

While on the DUI ARD program, you typically must serve a term of probation (usually 1-2 years), complete community service hours, attend alcohol highway safety school, serve a term of license suspension3 depending on your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), pay program costs and complete any other conditions imposed by the DA’s office. The DA’s office will determine the terms of your ARD such as the length of probation4 , the number of community service hours, if any, and any other conditions of the program.

ARD may be available in other types of criminal cases. However, ARD is popular in DUI cases. It is a viable alternative to prosecution for first time DUI offenders. If you successfully complete the DUI ARD program, the judge will dismiss all of the charges against you. However, you should hire a DUI lawyer to file a petition to have your DUI arrest record permanently sealed and expunged. A major benefit to the ARD program is the fact that you come out with a clean record. It is important to hire an experienced DUI attorney increase your chances of admission into the program.

1ARD stands for Accelerative Rehabilitative Disposition Program
2For instance, it would be an abuse of discretion for the DA’s office to deny you admission into ARD on the basis of race, religion or any other reason that is not logical. Each abuse of discretion case will be decided on a case by case basis and your lawyer must evaluate the appropriate case law.
3The length of the license suspension for the ARD DUI program depends on the motorists BAC. A .08-.099 carries no license suspension. A .10 to .159 BAC carries a 30 day license suspension. A BAC of .16 and above carries a 60 day license suspension. A minor convicted of a DUI must serve a 90 day license suspension.
4The length of probation may not exceed 24 months.