What Is the Pennsylvania ARD Program?
If you’ve recently been charged with DUI for the first time, then you probably have a number of questions running rapidly through your mind. You might be wondering whether or not you’ll go to jail, lose your license, and have to pay a significant, financially devastating fine. While a DUI charge is never a good thing, if you happen to be a Pennsylvania resident, then you might end up being in luck. Thanks to the state’s ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) program, some first-time offenders can consider an alternative option when dealing with the aftermath of their DUI charges.
Charles Nistico of the firm Nistico Roberts, P.C. is an experienced DUI attorney who has been serving Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks counties for more than 30 years, and according to him, the Pennsylvania ARD program can often serve as a lifeline for a first-time DUI offender looking to move past his initial – and potentially only – mistake along these lines. In fact, many Pennsylvania attorneys consider the ARD program to be somewhat of a “get out of jail free” card, as it helps first-time offenders avoid the hassles (such as license suspensions and jail time) inherent in an actual DUI conviction.
The ARD program is pretty much like being on probation following a traffic offense. In lieu of facing trials and potential convictions, participants in the program will generally need to attend meetings, undergo court-mandated DUI schooling, and pay fines as necessary.
If you’re charged with DUI for the first time, then it’s a good idea to ask your attorney if you might be eligible for the ARD program. Although agreeing to the program is somewhat akin to admitting guilt, the ARD program does have its benefits. If you follow the rules of the program and complete all its requirements, then your criminal DUI charges will be dropped completely. Additionally, your DUI charge will never appear on your record, thereby allowing you to move forward from the incident.
If the ARD program sounds like a good option to you and you’re deemed eligible for participation, then you’ll need to commit to taking it seriously. After all, the program does have certain requirements, and if you fail to uphold your end of the bargain, then you could get dismissed from the program, at which point you’ll have no choice but to face the original DUI charges that were brought against you in the first place. Of course, if convicted, you could end up facing a world of penalties, and the fact that you failed to fulfill the requirements of the ARD program won’t end up helping you much on the defense front.
While the ARD program can certainly be advantageous for certain first-time offenders, it is not automatically the best option in such situations. If your attorney strongly believes that he can get you off the hook for your DUI charge, then you might be better off going to trial and allowing him to work his magic. On the other hand, if your DUI lawyer advises you to seek and participate in the ARD program, then you’d be wise to follow his instructions accordingly.
While driving under the influence is a serious offense, it is possible for a person to simply make a one-time mistake and learn from it accordingly. So if you happen to find yourself in the unfortunate position of having been charged with DUI, then talk to your attorney about the possibility of foregoing a trial in favor of the ARD program. After all, there’s a good chance that it will make your situation a whole lot better in the long run.
This article is for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this article as a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances, and you should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. Publication of this article and your receipt of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship.
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this article as a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances, and you should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. Publication of this article and your receipt of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship.