Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)
After the shock of a DUI arrest wears off, you are probably starting to worry about how the penalties for driving under the influence will affect your life. Losing your license or having to pay a hefty fine can trouble you for months to come, and the negative impact of a criminal record will be with you for years.
If it’s your first DUI, Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD), a diversionary program, may be your best option. This is something that an experienced Pittsburgh DUI lawyer may be able to negotiate on your behalf.
The ARD Option
One of ARD’s chief benefits is that if you enter the program, you are not pleading guilty to your DUI charge. If you complete ARD successfully the charge can be expunged (cleared) from your record.
Another key advantage is that with ARD, your penalties for a DUI may not be as harsh.
In Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, Westmoreland and other counties surrounding Pittsburgh you are considered to be eligible for acceptance into ARD if:
- It’s your first DUI within the past 10 years (there is a rare exception to this rule).
- No one under 14 was in your vehicle when you were arrested.
- No one has been seriously injured by the accident connected with your DUI.
Successful completion of ARD requires:
- Attendance at alcohol highway safety school
- Court reporting network evaluation (drug/alcohol screening)
- Community service
- A probation period
- Payment of restitution if applicable
- 30-day license suspension for a BAC of 0.100 to 0.159 (your attorney may be able to have this lowered)
- 60-day license suspension for a BAC 0.160 or above (your attorney may be able to have this lowered)
- Payment of fines
Your acceptance into ARD depends on the circumstances of your DUI, but importantly, the District Attorney prosecuting your case will be the one who makes the final decision. Your attorney will be a key factor in motivating the DA to allow you to be admitted.
Am I Eligible for ARD?
A defendant charged with DUI may be considered by the prosecutor for participation in ARD, but it is not a right.
You are not eligible for ARD if any of the following apply:
- You have received ARD for DUI in the previous 10 years (there are exceptions to this rule).
- An accident occurred in connection with DUI and an individual other than the defendant was killed or suffered serious bodily injury as a result of the accident.
- There was a passenger under 14 years of age in the motor vehicle the defendant was operating.
Will I Go to Jail if I’m Accepted to ARD?
If accepted to the ARD program, you will not face jail time.
How Long Will My Driver’s License Be Suspended?
That depends on your BAC:
- There shall be no license suspension if the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of testing was less than 0.10%.
- For 30 days if the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of testing was at least 0.10% but less than 0.16%.
- For 60 days if,
(i) the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of testing was 0.16% or higher;
(ii) the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration is not known;
(iii) an accident which resulted in bodily injury or in damage to a vehicle or other property occurred in connection with the events surrounding the current offense; or
(iv) the defendant was charged with DUI for drugs.
- For 90 days if the defendant was a minor at the time of the offense.
How a Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer Can Help
ARD is not a program that is automatically issued to you – it typically requires negotiation and a careful review of the evidence to ensure that you can move on with your life after a DUI charge. Some judges or prosecutors representing the Commonwealth are more strict on enforcing penalties than others, and this is how an experienced Pittsburgh DUI lawyer can help. Let us fight your charges and protect your future.