ARD Eligibility for DUI Defendants

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has approved a unique diversionary program that allows first-time DUI offenders to seek alternative options to incarceration. The program is officially known as “ARD,” which stands for “Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition.” Specifically intended to rehabilitate program participants, the ARD program allows numerous DUI defendants to circumvent penalization.

If you have received a charge for driving under the influence (DUI) for the first time in Pennsylvania, you may have heard about the state’s ARD program and wondered if you could be eligible for admission. A Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. attorney can help determine whether you are eligible for ARD program admission, help you apply, and defend your case.

What is Pennsylvania’s ARD Program, and What are the Benefits?

Having a DUI on your permanent criminal record can drastically limit your future options for housing, employment, college admissions, car loans, and auto insurance. However, you could be given a second chance with the ARD program.

Similar to probation, the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program is a pre-trial intervention program intended to identify DUI offenders who are open to treatment and effectively remove their cases from the criminal justice system, freeing up resources that could be better used elsewhere.

DUI defendants in Pennsylvania who are granted entry into the ARD program can seek rehabilitation and effectively avoid jail time in favor of community supervision. Once a defendant completes the ARD program, a Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. criminal defense attorney can submit an application to petition the court for expungement of your record.

Your DUI or other non-violent charge will be wiped clean from your criminal history after completing the ARD program and successfully petitioning the court for expungement. This clean slate will essentially prevent any red flags from popping up when potential employers or landlords run background checks on your criminal history in the future.

ARD program completion can also allow you to keep your driver’s license or get your license back quicker because of the ARD program’s much shorter license suspension.

Are You Eligible for Pennsylvania’s ARD Program?

Eligibility for the ARD program is up to the discretion of the Prosecutor’s Office in the county where you are facing charges, but they usually consider the following criteria:

  • Whether this is your first offense
  • If there was a breach of public trust during the crime, such as if anyone was injured or killed
  • Whether violence was a factor in your offense
  • Whether there was a passenger under the age of 14 in your vehicle at the time of the DUI
  • Whether you had a valid driver’s license at the time
  • Whether your car was insured and registered

If you think you may be eligible for the ARD program and you would like to apply for placement, a Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. lawyer can help you submit a written application to the District Attorney’s Office.

Most often, you must waive your preliminary hearing and formal arraignment to receive placement in the ARD program. All parties involved with your DUI case (such as police officers or victims) will have an opportunity to comment on your ARD application. If your application is approved, you will likely be placed on probation, required to pay fines, and ordered to complete community service before being admitted into the program by a Common Pleas Judge.

ARD Program Help by Experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorneys

Completion of the ARD program means you could have your DUI charge dropped from your permanent criminal record entirely. However, admission into the ARD program is not automatic, and a judge will consider all aspects of your case to determine your eligibility.

A Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. DUI lawyer can help prepare your ARD application and advocate for you on your behalf. Our criminal defense attorneys have over 65 years of experience defending DUIs in Pennsylvania. We can present your case and explain why you are an ideal candidate for the ARD program or help you apply for expungement after ARD program completion.

To schedule a free consultation for your case today, call (215) 822-7575 or fill out our contact form to request more information about ARD program entry.