If law enforcement arrested you on suspicion of drunk driving, you are probably worried about your future and anxious to keep a DUI mark off your record.
If you are a first-time offender, you may qualify to enter the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program designed to help you make a fresh start.
In Pennsylvania, the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) include probation plus the suspension of your driving privileges in addition to fines and court-related fees. You could be without your driver’s license for up to a year. However, a DUI mark on your record will have repercussions for many years more.
About the ARD program
Rehabilitation is the primary aim of the ARD program for first-time offenders. The usual duration is one year. All Pennsylvania counties must offer this program. Although each program is unique, requirements may include:
- Completion of the Alcohol Safe Driving Class
- Community service
- Mandatory testing to ensure you abstain from alcohol or drugs
- Drug and alcohol counseling
The court will monitor your progress to ensure you comply with program requirements. If you fail to meet these requirements, you must leave the program and face trial on your DUI charge.
Your attorney can assist you in applying for the ARD program during your preliminary hearing. Once you enter the program, you can expect a much shorter term for your license suspension. Participation will also allow you to keep the DUI mark off your record. Furthermore, if asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you can answer “no.” Your record will remain sealed in the office of the District Attorney.