The Pennsylvania ARD Program & Mass. DUI Cases

PENNDOTThe State of Pennsylvania has an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program for those who are arrested for a first offense DUI.  One of the purposes of this DUI program is to allow qualified first offenders the ability to earn a “clean record” upon program completion. Participation in the program is not automatic and it is up to the District Attorney’s Office to agree to the ARD program.

When DUI charges are dismissed after a drunk driving defendant completes the Pennsylvania Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program, the Jude presiding over the case can order expungement of the defendant’s arrest record. The expungement is governed by the PA Criminal History Record Act, 18 Pa.C.S. §  9122 and Vehicle Code, § §  1534(b) & 3807.

Expungement of an arrest record will not necessarily save a Massachusetts Resident or License Holder from a license suspension resulting from the Pennsylvania DUI. This is because once the information is transmitted to Massachusetts by PennDOT, the Registry of Motor Vehicles can add it to a driver’s record and it is not bound by any out of state expungement order. Also, the PA Dept. of Transportation has the legal authority to maintain a record of a DUI offender’s acceptance into the ARD program for a period of ten (10) years. Therefore, when it comes to an out of state license suspension resulting from a drunk driving offense, expungement may be of little value. PennDOT will maintain records of the DUI for 10 years and, once communicated to the Mass. RMV, a license suspension will be imposed.

If an ARD program participant is arrested for another DUI within the 10 year lookback period, the DWI will be treated as a second offense. A second offense carries mandatory jail time of between 5 and 90 days depending on your blood alcohol content at the time of the arrest.

When the 10 year look back period expires, PennDOT will automatically expunge its records of the DUI incident, so long as there was no habitual traffic offender revocation and/or the offender was not a CDL holder at the time of the DUI. However, if the offense was added to your Massachusetts Driver History, the RMV will maintain the record permanently and the PA expungement law will not require MassDOT to remove the entry from your Massachusetts record. This is because Massachusetts has a lifetime lookback period for operating under the influence convictions or alcohol program assignments.