DUI: Changes to ARD
People convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) in Pennsylvania often face mandatory incarceration, mandatory fines, court costs, and/or suspension of their driving privileges.
First time offenders may be able to avoid jail time and reduce the amount of time their license is suspended by acceptance into a pretrial diversionary program known as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD. If admitted into the program, you will be required to participate in counseling, community service, as well as attend Alcohol Safety School. Upon successful completion of the terms of probation, including payment of all fees and costs, a defendant can petition the court to dismiss the charges and expunge your arrest record. The length of probation is typically 6-18 months. Acceptance into the ARD program is at the discretion of the District Attorney and the Court.
Within the past two years, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania issued an opinion holding that acceptance of the ARD program in a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) case cannot be considered a prior offense for DUI sentencing purposes. This ruling can have a dramatic impact on sentences imposed for individuals convicted of subsequent DUI offenses. Under some circumstances, the ruling may allow some repeat offenders to petition for modification of a sentence imposed for a second or third DUI offense.
Importantly, a third DUI conviction in PA is graded as a felony and can have multiple serious ramifications.
If you are charged with a DUI in PA or have questions about a past conviction call Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. for a free consultation.