The Penn. ARD Program for DUI Cases
Many states offer alternative dispositions for first offenders who plead out to drunk driving. In Massachusetts, the courts assign deserving defendants to the 24D First Offender Program. This allows the DUI defendant to avoid a 1 year loss of license and serve only a 45 to 90 day suspension. Enrollment in the Massachusetts 24D Alcohol Program is mandatory.
In Pennsylvania, those charged with DWI may be able to obtain an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or ARD. This is a pre-trial program which allows qualified defendants, who are first offenders, to avoid jail and other sanctions associated with being convicted of DWI.
One of the benefits of the Pennsylvania ARD program is that your DUI lawyer can file a motion requesting that the DUI charges be dismissed and that your criminal record be expunged, pursuant to Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rules 319 & 320. However, Pennsylvania has a 10 year DUI look-back period and any new DUI offenses committed within 10 years from the execution of the ARD agreement will count as subsequent offenses, even if the first offense is expunged.
Unlike Pennsylvania, Massachusetts has a lifetime DUI look back period and when calculating license suspensions and making ignition interlock determinations, the Registry will count any DUI convictions or alcohol program assignments, even if they have been expunged or resolved through the ARD program.
Like Massachusetts, the Pennsylvania DOT requires first DUI offenders to complete an alcohol treatment program and PENN DOT may suspended a driver’s license for up to 90 days, depending on the person’s BAC reading, age, or whether there was a chemical test refusal.
Those who obtain Accelerated Rehabilitative Dispositions must complete 100 hours of community service and they will be placed on supervised probation for either 6 months or one year. If applicable, restitution must be made and all court fines, fees, penalties, and costs must be paid.
As with the Massachusetts OUI First Offender Program, eligibility for participation in the Pennsylvania ARD program is not automatic. ARD eligibility is determined by the District Attorney’s Office in the county where the DUI occurred, based on the DUI offender’s record and the facts and circumstances of the individual case.