Frequently people will call our office after an arrest on drunk driving (DUI) charges. For many of those of accused of driving under the influence, it is their first offense and they are often eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program (ARD).
ARD Eligibility—This is a discretionary program—You aren’t entitled to it
In most situations, a DUI offender is eligible for ARD if the following circumstances exist:
- It is the first offense in 10 years
- No other person other than the offender was seriously injured or killed
- There was no passenger in the offenders vehicle under the age of 14 at the time of the offense
Even if you’re offered the ARD program, it is important to keep in mind that you must complete certain conditions to remain in the program and entry into the program will usually result in a mandatory minimum license suspension.
The ARD drivers’ license suspension are as follows:
No suspension if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is under .10 and the offender isn’t a minor
A 30 day license suspension if the BAC is .10 but less than .16
A 60 day license suspension if the BAC is .16 or greater OR the DUI involves drugs or a violation of Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent Law
The suspension is 90 days if the defendant is a minor
Requirements of the ARD program in Pennsylvania
Prior to entry into the program, the individual must complete Court Reporting Network (CRN) drug and alcohol evaluation. Once that assessment is completed and if it indicates a need for counseling or treatment, the court is required to order treatment as indicated by the assessment. When the court orders treatment or counseling, it is required to order the statutory maximum as the top end of the offender’s sentence.
A full drug and alcohol assessment is required for DUI offenders prior to sentencing if any of the following apply:
The offender has a prior DUI offense within 10 years
The CRN indicates a need for further evaluation for counseling or treatment
The BAC was .16 or greater.
Condition of the ARD program—These aren’t negotiable
If a person is admitted to the ARD program, he or she must complete the following conditions: