You will still lose your license with the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD, program in Pennsylvania. However, you could get your driving privileges back sooner. How long your suspension lasts under the ARD program depends primarily on your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your arrest.
To learn more about this program and if it could benefit you after a drunk driving arrest, discuss your case with an ARD lawyer. They can explain more about this pretrial diversionary program and determine if you qualify.
Understanding the Driver’s License Suspension With a Drunk Driving Charge
When a driver enters a guilty plea or is otherwise convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania, they could receive a license suspension for 12 to 18 months, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
If the driver instead qualifies for the ARD program, they often receive a shorter suspension. How long your license is suspended for usually depends on your BAC at the time of your arrest. According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s Bureau of Alcohol Education, ARD suspensions include:
- Mandatory 90-day license suspension for minors
- A 30-day suspension for a BAC between 0.10 and 0.16
- A 60-day suspension for a BAC of 0.16 or greater, when the driver was under the influence of drugs, or in implied consent cases
- A 60-day suspension if the driver caused an accident with property damage or bodily injury
In addition to reducing the time a driver might not be able to drive, ARD program participants might also qualify for a temporary, limited license that allows them to drive despite their suspension. This is often possible with the installation of an ignition interlock device.
What Is ARD and Who Is Eligible?
According to the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Services, the ARD program helps some first-time offenders keep their clean criminal record if they complete the court-monitored rehabilitation and meet other program requirements.
While the guidelines for who qualifies differ by county, for DUI offenders, they often include the following:
- It is the individual’s first DUI offense in the last ten years
- The individual has no other criminal record
- No victim hurt in a collision suffered serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries
- There was no one under the age of 14 in the vehicle when the DUI stop occurred
The ARD program works by effectively pushing pause on the criminal DUI case. When an applicant receives acceptance into the ARD program, they agree to meet the program criteria and accept the related penalties. In exchange, the charges will not proceed, and they will not need to go to court.
If they fail to complete the ARD program successfully, prosecutors could move forward with the criminal case. The offender could face conviction and penalties from the courts.
What Are the Other Stipulations of the ARD Program?
Serving a mandatory license suspension is not the only stipulation of the ARD program. While this could differ from county to county, there is generally a list of mandatory conditions a participant must follow to successfully complete this program. Only after successful completion of all items on the list will the court clear your criminal record.
The conditions of the ARD program for a DUI arrest could include the following:
- Completing Alcohol Highway Safety School
- Months of probation
- An assessment for issues related to drugs and alcohol and counseling or treatment, if recommended
- Paying restitution to victims if a crash occurred
- Paying all related fees and costs
Some counties or judges have other requirements for ARD offenders. These could include community service, fines, and more. Your attorney will be familiar with the ARD requirements in your county and can discuss them with you.
In most cases, the benefits of ARD outweigh the downsides. By preventing you from having a criminal record, it could allow you to apply for jobs, rent apartments, and manage other everyday tasks without having to explain your arrest and conviction.
You Can Work With an Attorney to Preserve Your Clean Record and Regain Your Driving Privileges Sooner
Pennsylvania ARD program attorneys know what it takes to qualify for and complete this program in their service area. They offer advice, guidance, and representation to those who want to participate in ARD instead of waiting on the court system or possibly facing DUI charges, convictions, and penalties.
The ARD program is only one option for how to handle a possible DUI charge in Pennsylvania. You might be able to fight the charges or negotiate a favorable plea deal instead. Either of these options could prevent you from facing a year-long license suspension. Your attorney can offer advice about your options based on the details of your case.
A criminal defense attorney from our firm will be able to formulate a plan for handling your driving under the influence arrest and help you fight for a positive outcome in the case. Your lawyer can also help you apply for a limited license or make other plans to ensure you can get to work or school despite a license suspension.
Talk to a DUI Lawyer from Our Firm About the Pennsylvania ARD Program
If the police stopped or arrested you for DUI in Pennsylvania, McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. is here to help you. We serve those facing criminal allegations in Pennsylvania. You can speak to our team today to learn more about how we help clients navigate the process of applying for ARD.
Contact us now to begin fighting against your DUI charges. We are here to review your case and discuss your next steps. You do not have to try to navigate a DUI arrest and the charges against you on your own.