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

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.

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