Some people think that they can get out of a DUI by opting for an ARD. But it’s not that easy.
ARD is wonderful program if you have no other option. However, it is like a one get out of jail free card in your life. You only use it as a last resort. Too many people think that they will never get charged with a DUI again and therefore using ARD in a weak case that should have never been charged in the first place seems appealing, but not so fast. If you could come into our office and look at the files of people who have a second offense DUI, they all thought the same. Every single one of them. Now, they kick themselves because they didn’t fight the first one. Also, we at this firm frequently deal with people who got bad advice, sometimes even from attorneys, that get them into ARD to only find out that ARD really wasn’t an option for them at all. The perfect case is CDL truck drivers. If they accept ARD, then even if there is no loss of license in the ARD program, he or she will lose their CDL license for at least one year! Other professionals such as doctors, lawyers, nurses, CEO, CPAs, licensed emission inspectors, and the like ARD is potentially a very bad idea. There is life beyond the driver’s license such as your job, insurance and malpractice premiums and adverse credit scores. It is the unintended and informed choice that could radically change your whole life. It is vitally important that you get knowledgeable legal counsel.
The Pennsylvania Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, ARD is a pre-trial diversionary program offered to first time offenders under certain conditions. You will be under 6-12 month probation under ARD supervision. You will attend mandatory Highway Safety classes. You may lose your license for some time. The ARD program cost to you is $1,500 to $2,000.
The person will not be eligible for ARD if he or she:
a) has a prior criminal conviction
b) was involved in a crash that resulted in serious injury or death
c) was carrying a minor under the age of 14 at the time of arrest
d) does not have insurance
Under the ARD program, the mandatory license suspension depends on the Blood Alcohol Concentration.
– No suspension for BAC less than .10
– 30 day for BAC between .10 and .16
– 60 day for BAC over .16 or drugs
It is advisable for you to fight your charges
- if you have a case that can be won in court, or
- if you cannot have the ARD suspension on your driving history for 10 years, or
- if you have a BAC over .10 landing you in a higher tier, or
- you hold a professional certificate or license: like teacher, doctor, nurse, lawyer, or
- if you are in the military, or
- if you hold a Pennsylvania CDL license. In fact, CDL holders face a one-year license suspension whether convicted in court or through ARD. For a truck driver, that means no driving job for a whole year, which is as bad as the conviction itself. The only way to avoid a CDL suspension is to fight the case and get a “not guilty” verdict, obtain a non-DUI disposition or get the charges dropped.
- Just about everyone else too
At the completion of the ARD probation, you can petition the court to dismiss and expunge the charges. If granted, then your arrest information should be destroyed and charges dismissed. But what ARD lawyers will not tell you is even though the criminal record can be expunged, the PennDOT records cannot be expunged for at least 10 years. Also what few tell you is if you get another DUI, you will be treated as a repeat offender.
Many DUI lawyers will tell you to just take the ARD program as the easy way out……. for them. The Attorneys at The McShane Firm will evaluate your case to help you make a fully informed decision as to what is best. Please call 1-866-MCSHANE for more details.