How ARD Works
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is a program under Pennsylvania law that provides an alternative for first-time DUI offenders. It is especially valuable for those accused of driving with a high (0.1 percent or above) or highest (0.18 percent or above) BAC because it can allow them to avoid jail time that would otherwise be required if convicted through the normal criminal process.
ARD is available to first-time offenders so long as they did not cause serious bodily injury to another while driving intoxicated, drive intoxicated with a passenger under 14 years of age, or drive without a license or under a suspended license. So long as defendant does not fall into any of these categories, he or she can usually apply for ARD at the preliminary hearing and then file the appropriate forms with the Probation/Parole Department. The Department then conducts an interview after which they, along with the District Attorney, accept or reject the application.
Those accepted into the ARD program receive one year of probation, 40 hours of community service, and must complete a drug/alcohol screening and DUI school. Those caught driving with a high or highest BAC or who caused an accident while DUI can also receive a license suspension of up to 60 days. Those who successfully complete ARD are usually able to have their records expunged. ARD may not be the best option for all first- time offenders, but it usually is worth considering for those found driving with a high or highest BAC.