Driving under the influence is the most common charge that brings ordinary people into the criminal justice system. In addition to concerns about the loss of driving privileges and potentially hefty fines, individuals who have no experience with incarceration often worry that they’re ill-prepared to serve a jail sentence. Fortunately, some Pennsylvania offenders may be eligible to enter a DUI diversion program that serves as an alternative to traditional sentencing. If completed, these programs act as avenues for avoiding the standard consequences, with some even leading to complete dismissal of all criminal charges.
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the penalties associated with a DUI depend primarily on each defendant’s case and the circumstances surrounding their arrest. An experienced DUI defense lawyer who understands Pennsylvania criminal defense law may be able to help you completely avoid any time spent in jail or, potentially, eliminate your charges.
Understanding Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program for people charged with DUI for the first time. This is the most common diversion program and is available in every county in Pennsylvania. It’s available for the broadest range of crimes, at the discretion of the District Attorney’s Office. The ARD program can help you avoid a jail sentence and other standard penalties.
If you’re approved for ARD after being charged with DUI, you’ll be supervised for six to twelve months, during which you’ll have to pay fines and costs, complete an alcohol safe-driving class, undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, comply with any recommended treatment, and have your license suspended.
After completing the program, you may petition the court to have your DUI charges dismissed, and the case expunged from your record. If you fail to comply with the program’s conditions, you’ll be removed, and the case will return back on the trial list.
What Are Alternatives to Traditional Sentencing after a DUI in Montgomery County?
In Pennsylvania, while ARD is the most common DUI diversion program for those charged with DUI, there are still others to consider:
Like many state judicial systems around the country, Pennsylvania has set up a system of drug courts for offenses that involve alcohol or drugs, including driving under the influence. These programs require supervision, frequent court appearances, drug testing, and tightly structured recovery services and treatment.
Drug or Alcohol Treatment Program
If you’re prepared to attend a drug or alcohol treatment program, the judge may consider allowing you to do so in lieu of imprisonment. These programs are meant to foster a driver’s understanding of their legal and moral responsibility while in a positive, nonjudgmental environment. The DUI program provides valuable tools for relapse prevention and intends to help drivers comprehend and accept their responsibility to stay sober.
Get in Touch with an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Montgomery County
If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence and wish to avoid the consequences of a conviction, act quickly and contact an attorney following your arrest. The experienced lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford understand how challenging this time can be, which is why we’re committed to fighting for your rights and protecting your interests during the legal process. Our trusted legal team knows the ins and outs of Pennsylvania DUI defense law and will be by your side every step of the way.
For more than 65 years, the lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford have been serving clients in Montgomery County, Lehigh County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and the surrounding areas in Southeastern Pennsylvania. We’ve attained the trust and respect of clients facing a range of legal problems. Give us a call at (215) 822-7575 or complete our online contact form today.