Many people have heard the term ARD, but are unsure what the term actually means and entails. “ARD” stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. While it can be used for other crimes, it is most often a program considered for first offense DUI clients. The program includes a period of time on probation, completion of a number hours of community service, completion of alcohol highway safety classes, and completion of drug and alcohol counseling. While there are many benefits to admission into the ARD program, its seminal feature is that the DUI charge against you is dismissed upon successful completion of the ARD program. Its other benefits include the avoidance of mandatory jail time and a significantly shorter license suspension.
There are, however, a number of potential roadblocks regarding whether the DA ultimately recommends you for the program. An offender will not be considered for ARD if 1)the offender has been convicted of DUI or accepted into the ARD program within 10 years of the date of the current offense; 2)An accident occurred in connection with the offense where a person, other than the offender, was killed or suffered serious bodily injury; or 3)There was a passenger under 14 years of age in the motor vehicle the offender was operating. Additionally, an offender will not be afforded the opportunity of entrance into the ARD program if the offender committed the following violations of the motor vehicle code: 1) Driving without a license; 2) Driving Under a (license) Suspension; 3) Driving with no Financial Responsibility (insurance); 4) The offender has an extensive driving record as determined by the district attorney; 5) The offender has more than one prior DUI / ARD; or 6) The offender’s blood alcohol level is 0.30% or above.
In some cases, the ARD program may not be the best option. The arresting officer may have made an illegal stop of your vehicle or may not have had probable cause to arrest you at the scene of the vehicle stop. It is important, therefore, to contact an experienced Lancaster, PA DUI Lawyer immediately following your arrest to determine your best course of action.