Can DUI Offenders Enter the ARD Program? | Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.
dui ard program

Can DUI Offenders Enter the ARD Program?

Rachel Olszewski
Rachel Olszewski

Driving while under the influence is a serious offense. It puts not you, your potential passengers, and any other drivers on the road at risk. Sometimes, you only hurt yourself. Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to not hurt anyone at all. In these situations, the punishment for DUI offenders can be mild. In some cases, there can be opportunities for rehabilitation rather than punishment if the court considers the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.

If you’re unsure as to what the ARD program is and if your DUI charge qualifies, the criminal defense attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. can help you.

What is the ARD Program?

Counties across Pennsylvania have programs where you can be put into a rehabilitative program rather than jail or prison. If you complete the program without incident, you avoid serving time behind bars and your charge will be wiped from your criminal record. Only non-violent crimes are considered eligible for the ARD program, and you have to be recommended by the prosecutor on your case.

This means you need an attorney who can serve as a skilled negotiator to prove that you and society at large will be better served by your rehabilitation.

Are DUI Charges Eligible For the ARD Program?

DUI offenders can be eligible for the ARD program in some specific circumstances. This has to be your first DUI charge, and your charge can’t be the result of an accident that left a passenger or victim harmed. Some exceptions can be made if your previous DUI was downgraded to a misdemeanor or was over a decade ago, but do not rely on these possibilities.
If you have gone through the ARD program successfully in the past, then your previous charge will not be on the record. A second DUI charge will be treated like the first, but this doesn’t mean the prosecutor won’t know about it. A prosecutor may still use a previously stricken charge to determine your penalty.

What Happens to DUI Offenders if They Can’t Get Into the ARD Program?

To be considered for the ARD program, a DUI offender must be experiencing their first DUI on record. There are three tiers of DUI offenses and they are measured by your BAC score. BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Content or the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream.

  • Tier 1: This is when a DUI offender is only generally impaired by a BAC of .08 to .099. A guilty Tier 1 charge can lead to a misdemeanor, six months probation, and a $300 fine.
  • Tier 2: This is when a DUI offender has a high BAC rate of .10 to .159. A guilty Tier 2 charge can lead to a misdemeanor, 48 hours to 6 months in jail, a $500 to $5000 fine, and a one-year driver’s license suspension.
  • Tier 3: This is when a DUI offender has the highest BAC rate over .159, were using a controlled substance, or refused a chemical test. A Tier 3 charge can lead to a misdemeanor, 72 hours to 6 months in jail, a $1000 to $5000 fine, and a one-year driver’s license suspension.

What Does the ARD Program Entail?

Each county has a different ARD program, but they have similar programs that are meant to rehabilitate you so you specifically don’t get a DUI again. While other charges are eligible for the ARD program, they have separate classes and requirements that match their charge.

DUI offenders should potentially expect:

  • To be under court supervision for six months; court supervision is similar to probation
  • To pay restitutions for all court fines and fees
  • To lose their driver’s license for 30 to 90 days
  • To complete an alcohol highway safety class
  • To undergo alcohol and/or drug treatment

What Should You Do If You’re Charged With a DUI?

If you’re pulled over or arrested at a traffic stop and eventually charged with a DUI, you need a criminal defense attorney immediately. DUIs are serious charges and leave little room for any mistakes. Our attorneys have extensive experience with defending DUI offenders, and we can work with you and the prosecuting attorney to determine if you’re eligible for the ARD program.

Whether you’re able to join the ARD program or not, the attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. will defend your freedom no matter what. Contact us today for help.

Rachel Olszewski
Rachel Olszewski

Rachel D. Olszewski, an attorney at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., is a dedicated advocate for clients who have suffered unjust harm. Following the legacy of her esteemed family members, Rachel specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, and criminal defense. She is actively involved in professional associations and serves on the board of the Luzerne County Bar Association Charitable Foundation. Rachel is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania state courts and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
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