Posts Tagged ‘Berks County ARD Program’

Spotlight Issue: What you need to know about DUI ARD in Berks County

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Have you been charged with a DUI in Berks County? You may be eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.  ARD is a program run by the Berks County District Attorney’s Office.  Generally, DUI ARD is available for those who do not have a prior criminal record.  Our attorneys can discuss with you whether or not you are eligible for the program so contact one of our DUI defense attorneys located in Reading, Pennsylvania today. Even if you have an old or minor prior criminal record, including a DUI more than 10 years ago, our attorneys may be able to help you get admission into the program.

There are many benefits to the ARD program for DUI’s.  Most importantly, if you complete the ARD program, you will never plead guilty to a DUI and the charge will be expunged from your record.  Also, the period of time that your license will be suspended is significantly less if you are in the ARD program as opposed to the suspension for a DUI conviction.  The length of time that your license will be suspended for a DUI is most often determined by your blood alcohol content (BAC), but could also be determined by other factors including, but not limited to

- whether you had drugs in your system

- whether there were children in the car

- your involvement in a motor vehicle accident.

The length of time that you would be in the DUI ARD program is also determined by those factors. Our attorneys can help to give you an idea of how long your license may be suspended and how long you may be in DUI ARD program.

So the ARD program sounds great.   How do you get started?  You will usually apply for the DUI ARD program at your preliminary hearing.  Our attorneys can help you fill out the DUI ARD application.  While at your preliminary hearing, you will be given an ARD court date.  In general, that is the date that you will be formally admitted into the DUI ARD program as long as you are approved for placement by the Berks County District Attorney’s Office and as long as you have completed the program requirements.  Program requirements usually include

- community service

- drug and alcohol assessments

- drug, alcohol or mental health treatment

- Alcohol Safe Driving class

- payment of court costs and fines.

You will be expected to surrender your driver’s license on the date that you are formally admitted into the DUI ARD program.

You’re not done as soon as you’re placed into the program though.  You may have additional requirements to complete while you’re in the DUI ARD program.  If the Berks County District Attorney’s Office believes that you are not completing the DUI ARD program as you should be, they will ask the court to terminate you from the program.  If that happens, you will be scheduled for an ARD Termination hearing in front of the court.  At that hearing the Berks County District Attorney’s Office will present the reasons why you should be terminated from the DUI ARD program.  Our attorneys can help you defend against ARD Termination.  Having representation at this hearing is crucial because termination from the DUI ARD program usually means that you will have to start the court process over again and either plead guilty to the DUI charge or go to trial.  However, even after ARD termination the court will sometimes allow reinstatement into the DUI ARD program.  Our attorneys can represent you at the ARD Reinstatement hearing.

It is important that you follow all of the steps correctly to be admitted in the Berks County DUI ARD program.  Our attorneys can help guide you along the way to make sure that you receive the best outcome possible for your case.

Client Avoids Termination of ARD

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Attorney Ryan W. McAllister recently represented a client who was facing termination from the Berks County accelerated rehabilitative disposition program (ARD). Our client was previously placed on this “first offense” program over one (1) year ago, which gave him the opportunity to avoid getting a conviction on his record. Our client, however, fell on some hard times and he was unable to fulfill some of the requirements of the ARD program.

Therefore, the Berks County Adult Probation Office and the Berks County District Attorney’s Office filed paperwork asking the Judge to remove our client from the ARD program. This, obviously, was not good for our client, since he would then, once again, be looking at having a conviction on this record.

Attorney McAllister, however, was able to successfully argue to the Judge to give our client an “extension” of the ARD program. Therefore, the Judge scheduled another hearing date several months out. In the meantime, Attorney McAllister will work with our client to ensure that all requirements of the program are completed.

If you or someone you know is facing termination or removal from the Berks County ARD program, please contact our firm right away at 610-372-5128. One of our experienced and dedicated attorneys will be happy to meet with you to discuss your situation in more detail. We will be happy to talk about potential strategies and arguments that we can use to prevent you from being kicked off of the ARD program.

College Student Gets ARD for Felony Charges

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Attorney Ryan W. McAllister was retained to represent a young college student on felony charges of forgery, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 4101, access device fraud, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 4106, and theft by deception, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3922.  Our client, along with a co-defendant, allegedly used another person’s credit card without permission.  As a young person just starting out her life, our client was extremely worried about the impact of felony charges on her otherwise bright future.

Attorney McAllister began negotiating with the Berks County District Attorney’s Office shortly after being retained.  Attorney McAllister formally filed the paperwork to consider our client for the Berks County Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (“ARD”).  Normally, defendants charged with felony offenses are not eligible for the ARD Program.  Attorney McAllister, however, stressed the fact this our client had no prior involvement with the criminal justice system.  Attorney McAllister was able to get our client approved for the ARD Program, which will allow our client to have her record expunged after successful completion of the program.

In the end, our client was extremely happy with the outcome of her case.  Initially, she was worried about the possibility of having a felony on her record for the rest of her life.  By the time she completes the ARD Program, however, she will have her record expunged, and there will no evidence that this unfortunate incident ever took place.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense in Reading or Berks County, please contact us right away at 610-372-5128.  We are always happy to offer a complimentary consultation to client in criminal matters.

College Student Gets ARD For Felony Charges

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Last week Attorney Ryan W. McAllister represented a young Kutztown University student who was charged with felony burglary, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3502(a), felony criminal trespass, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3503(a)(1)(i), and misdemeanor theft by unlawful taking, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3921(b).  Our client was charged with taking some items of clothing from another university student, and, in order to take those items of clothing, our client allegedly went into another student’s dorm room without permission.  Since our client went into another student’s dorm room “without permission”, the university police charged out client with felony burglary and felony criminal trespass, in addition to theft by unlawful taking.

This was a case that could have potentially had dire consequences for our client.  A felony conviction would not only become part of our client’s permanent record, but it would also result in a long prison sentence.  Neither of these were acceptable options for our client, who was a bright college student with her entire future ahead of her.

After discussing and researching the facts of the case with our client, Attorney McAllister decided the best course of action in this case would be the ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) Program.  Although this special first-time offender program is usually reserved for misdemeanor cases, Attorney McAllister began negotiating and pressing for the ARD Program at the preliminary hearing.  Based on all of the relevant factors in the case, Attorney McAllister was able to get our client placed on the ARD Program for the misdemeanor theft charge.  Attorney McAllister was able to get the prosecution to withdraw the two (2) felonies.

Ultimately, our client will be eligible to receive a full dismissal and expungement of her entire case after successfully completing the ARD Program.  After the program is over, our client will be able to move on with her life without worrying about the effect that a conviction would have had on her future.  She is very happy with the outcome of her case, and she is looking forward to putting this unfortunate incident behind her.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense in Reading, Pennsylvania, or Berks County, Pennsylvania, please contact our office as soon as possible at 610-372-5128.  We always offer free consultations in criminal matters, and it is critical to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to speaking with law enforcement.  It could be the most important call that you make.

ARD Granted for Client in DUI Case

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Attorney Ryan W. McAllister recently represented a client who was charged with a first offense driving under the influence (DUI) case in Berks County.  Although this was our client’s first DUI offense, our client did have a prior Drug Paraphenalia case from a few years ago.  Our client actually successfully completed ARD in this prior Drug Paraphenalia case.  Because of this prior offense, our client was initially denied entry into the Berks County DUI ARD Program.

Without the benefit of this program, though, our client would have faced a mandatory 72 hours in Berks County Prison, as well as a mandatory 12 month license suspension.

Therefore, Attorney McAllister formally requested that the Berks County District Attorney’s Office “reconsider” our client for the specialized DUI ARD Program.  After reviewing this detailed written request, our client was, in fact, approved for the ARD Program.  Therefore, our client served no jail time and had a reduced license suspension of only 60 days instead of 12 months.  Additionally, our client will be eligible for a full expungment of his record in this case once the DUI ARD Program is completed.

If you or someone you know is charged with a DUI, please contact us at 610-372-5128 to setup a free case evaluation.  Although the ARD Program is traditionally for somone who is charged with a “first-offense”, our attorneys have been very successful in fighting for ARD for our clients.

Simple Assault, Public Drunkeness, Disorderly Conduct charges dismissed in Berks County, PA

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Today I represented a client charged with Simple Assault and related offenses for an alleged incident occurring in Berks County, PA. The case had made it to the Court of Common Pleas level and was set for disposition. My client was otherwise eligible for ARD, but we hoped for an even better result.

I filed an Omnibus Pretrial motion and the matter was set for a hearing. Our position was that the Commonwealth could not establish each of the elements of the offenses. In the end the Judge agreed to dismiss each of the charges and my client walked out of court a free man.

ARD Reconsideration Granted in Berks County Drug Case

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

This morning I was able to secure an ARD admission for a client charged with Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana and Paraphernalia. Typically, this would not be particularly notable for a first time offender. However, my client’s background included a previous ARD for a DUI case.

Our initial application for ARD was denied by the Assistant District Attorney due to the prior ARD and prosecutorial discretion. I felt that the circumstances of the arrest and my client’s background were unique and should be taken into consideration by the Commonwealth. So, I submitted an ARD Reconsideration letter to the Berks County District Attorney outlining the reasons why my client should be given a break. He has a good job in the financial field which requires various licenses which could be jeopardized with a drug related conviction. Both offenses were non-violent and were relatively minor. Objectively speaking, the circumstances of the search and seizure were subject to a constitutional challenge. Fortunately, the District Attorney took the various points into account and approved admission into the program.

The end result is that my client can earn a dismissal of the charges so long as he stays out of trouble for 6 months, completes community service and pays some fines and costs. A great outcome for someone facing a drug related conviction which would lead to internation travel restrictions and possible loss of professional certifiactions and licenses, not to mention suspension of his driver’s license.

It’s possible, though rare, to gain admission to the ARD program in Berks County for a second offense. The lawyers at Ebner, Nevins & McAllister have experience at successfully navigating these waters. If you have a criminal case in Berks County, PA you need skilled legal representation. Call our offices to schedule a free consultation.

Can I get ARD in Berks County when I am charged with two seperate cases?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

I recently represented a client in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas charged with two criminal cases – a DUI and a Simple Assault/ Terroristic Threats – at the same time. A 32 year old father of five with a rock solid employment history had found his life spinning out of control after discovering his spouse’s infidelity.  With a first time DUI charge he was facing a mandatory 3 day jail sentence and a one year driver’s license suspension if convicted. Additionally, his simple assault and terroristic threats case involved possession of a (legal) firearm, so under the sentencing guidelines he was looking at a county jail sentence.

We proceeded to a preliminary hearing on the Assault/ Threats case. I successfully argued for a dismissal of the terroristic threats charges and the simple assault count was held for court. Subsequently, we waived the DUI charge and applied him for ARD in that case. Both cases proceeded to Common Pleas but in front of different Judges with two different Assistant DA’s assigned. Then came some bad news – I received a plea offer of 3 to 23 months in the Assault case and a denial of ARD in the DUI case.
Through negotiation with the ADA in the Simple Assault case, I was able to secure a revised plea offer of 2 years probation. I then filed an ARD reconsideration letter with the Berks County District Attorney for the DUI case. In my letter I outlined my client’s background and the unique circumstances of his cases. I stated clearly my goal in the matters: ARD on the DUI case and 2 years concurrent probation on the Simple Assault case. Thankfully, the District Attorney agreed that this request was reasonable given the circumstances. In the end, I was able to help my client avoid jail time and a legnthy license suspension.

The answer to the question that forms the title of this post is “yes.” But only if you retain diligent and persistent counsel. We regularly obtain the most favorable results for our clients. If you or someone you love is charged with a criminal case in Berks County or throughout Central or Southeastern Pennsylvania give us a call for a free consultation.

Pulled over for a DUI in Berks County?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Unfortunately, every night a motorist in Berks County PA gets stopped on suspicion of Drunk Driving.  The stop may occur at a DUI checkpoint, after a minor traffic violation or perhaps a motor vehicle accident.  The officer will notice the DUI indicators – blood shoot eyes, slurred speech, odor of alcohol and ask the motorist to step out of the vehicle.  The driver will then be subjected to a series of field sobriety tests – the finger to nose test, one legged stand and walk and turn.  A preliminary breath test is done and the driver finds himself in the back of a patrol car on the way to the DUI center to have his blood drawn.  Later, he is told to call a friend to pick him up and he’s sent on his way.

The next day the driver is going to start to wonder what’s going to happen.  Am I going to be charged with a DUI?  Am I going to jail?  Am I going to lose my license?  What about my car insurance?  It’s important to contact an experienced Berks County DUI attorney as soon as possible to get the answers to these and other questions.  The attorneys at Ebner, Nevins and McAllister have successfully handled thousands of Berks County DUI and traffic citation cases.  We work closely with our clients to ensure that they are fully engaged in the process while suffering the absolute minimum of adverse impact.  If you or a loved one has been pulled over on suspicion of Drunk Driving in Berks County, PA you should not delay:  Call our office at once for a free consultation.

Client Granted ARD After Filing Reconsideration

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

My client was charged with a first offense driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Berks County.  Even though it was a first offense, my client was still facing a mandatory 72 hours (3 days) in Berks County Prison along with a 12 month license suspension.  After reviewing the facts of the case with my client, we made the decision that the best option would be to pursue the Berks County DUI ARD Program, which would eliminate the threat of any mandatory jail time and reduce the license suspension down to 60 days.

The problem, however, was that my client previously participated in and completed the accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program in another case, approximately two (2) years ago.  Normally, ARD is offered to first time offenders only, and a prior involvement with the criminal justice system will preclude a defendant from participating in the ARD Program.  In fact, that was exactly what happened as the case initially progressed.  I received notice from the District Attorney’s Office that my client was denied from the DUI ARD Program.

Nevertheless, I wanted to make at least one (1) additional attempt to get my client admitted to the DUI ARD Program.  After all, my client had never spent a day in jail in his entire life, and he was extremely worried about ending up behind bars.  Also, my client was employed full-time, and a lengthy one-year license suspension would cause significant problems with my client’s ability to get to and from work.  Therefore, I prepared a letter addressed to the District Attorney of Berks County.  In the letter, I made it known that my client had previously completed the ARD Program in Berks County.  However, I also made it clear that my client was willing to do whatever was necessary to be given the benefit of going through the program a second time.  Also, I was sure to mention that my client was extremely cooperative with the police throughout the investigation and that he was employed full-time.

Shortly thereafter, I received a letter back stating that my client had been granted entry onto the DUI ARD based on my reconsideration request.  Although it can be very difficult to get accepted onto the ARD Program if there is a prior involvement with the criminal justice system, I have been very successful helping clients in these types of situations.  Often times, a properly worded letter pointing out the important facts of the case can result in a different outcome.

If you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Reading, Pennsylvania, or Berks County, Pennsylvania, please contact my office to setup a free consultation.  I would be more than happy to discuss the specifics of your case.