Being convicted of a criminal offense such as driving under the influence (DUI) can lead to driver’s license revocation, jail time, and permanent damage to your reputation. Fortunately, you may be able to avoid these harsh consequences by participating in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. Through the ARD program, you may be able to get your charges dismissed and your arrest record expunged.
Our Bristol ARD program lawyer helps people who have been arrested for drunk driving qualify for ARD so that they can avoid the stigma and legal consequences of a DUI conviction.
Basics of the Bristol ARD Program
The ARD program in Pennsylvania is a pretrial diversionary program intended to reduce recidivism. Pennsylvania courts recognize that, in some cases, being convicted of a crime makes it more likely that an individual will be convicted of more crimes in the future.
The state recognizes that many first-time offenders should not be labeled criminals and deserve a second chance. Most participants in the ARD program are first-time DUI offenders.
What Are the Benefits of the ARD Program?
According to the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Services, individuals who complete the ARD program can get their criminal charges dismissed. If your charges are dismissed, you will not have to go to trial and defend yourself against the charges. You will also avoid the possibility of fines, jail time, and other criminal penalties.
Successful program completion also triggers the expungement of the defendant’s arrest record. Once your record is expunged, it is erased entirely. Employers, landlords, friends, family, and neighbors will not be able to your arrest record. You will not have to live with the stigma of being convicted of a crime.
The ARD program benefits the state of Pennsylvania. Instead of spending time and resources on a DUI trial, the court can focus on more serious offenders.
How does the ARD Program Work?
The ARD program is designed to allow non-violent offenders to avoid conviction by agreeing to certain conditions. The exact conditions you must agree to depend on the nature of the offense and other factors.
According to 75 Pa. C.S. § 3807, to be eligible for dismissal of your charges and expungement of your arrest record, you may be required to:
- Pay restitution to make up for any financial harm you caused
- Complete an alcohol addiction or substance abuse treatment program
- Complete alcohol highway safety classes
- Comply with the terms of court supervision or probation
- Complete community service
- Pass drug or alcohol tests
- Pay any required court costs or municipal costs
What Happens If You do Not Finish the Program?
Many people wonder what happens if they do not complete the ARD program. For example, what happens if you finish your substance abuse treatment program and complete your community service requirements but then violate the terms of court supervision?
If you do not comply with the terms of the program or fail to complete any of the requirements, you may no longer be eligible for dismissal of your charges or expungement of your record. You may have to go to trial and defend yourself against the charges as if you never started the ARD program in the first place.
Who Qualifies for ARD?
Unfortunately, not everybody qualifies for the ARD program. To be eligible for ARD, you must meet the following criteria:
- You were charged with driving under the influence or another qualifying non-violent offense. According to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, individuals accused of possession of a controlled substance or theft may also qualify for the ARD program.
- You are a first-time offender, meaning you have not previously been convicted of any misdemeanor or felony offense in Pennsylvania or other states.
- You have never participated in the ARD program before.
How Our Bristol ARD Program Lawyer Can Help You
Unfortunately, you do not automatically receive admission to the ARD program, even if you meet the qualifications. The abovementioned criteria are the bare minimum for being considered for the program. The final decision is up to the discretion of the district attorney’s office.
Bristol ARD program attorney David C. McKenzie III can help you present a strong argument for admittance into the program. Mr. McKenzie knows that applying for the ARD program can be confusing and intimidating.
You may need to attend a hearing and explain why you should be considered for the program in addition to filling out and submitting the application. Mr. McKenzie can represent you during the hearing and help you complete all necessary paperwork and submit it on time.
Benefits of Working With Our Bristol ARD Lawyer
When you work with McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., you know you have someone on your side helping you take the steps necessary to qualify for the ARD program and get your charges dismissed. Being accused of any criminal offense can be a stressful, complicated experience. Let our Bristol ARD program lawyer provide the legal help and support you deserve.
An Attorney You Can Count On
Attorney David McKenzie believes communication is key to a good lawyer-client relationship. Once you have signed on as a client, you can contact David through email, phone calls, and text messages.
Client Testimonials About Our Services
Our testimonials page is filled with accolades and positive reviews for David McKenzie and his team.
- “Found David on Google & after reading the reviews decided to have a consultation with him about my fiancé’s case. He was everything I could have hoped for! Very responsive, knowledgeable and he came through on everything he promised. Reasonably priced & accessible. Highly recommend! Thank you David!!” –Ms. Amethyst
- “Nothing but good things to say about my experience with Attorney McKenzie. Being someone new to the legal process he always made himself available to answer any questions. I had and made sure I was informed every step of the way. Thank you for everything!” –John L.
Start Working With a Bristol ARD Program Lawyer Today
Being convicted of driving under the influence, theft, drug possession, or another offense can affect your freedom and future. The ARD program can help you avoid being convicted for driving under the influence or another non-violent offense. If you complete the program, you can petition to have your charges dismissed and your arrest record expunged.
Being admitted to the ARD program can be challenging, but you do not have to attempt it alone. Our Bristol ARD program lawyer can help you apply for the program and represent you during any legal proceedings. Call McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. today to learn how we can help you.