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The Pros and Cons of ARD for Drunk Driving in Pennsylvania

If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Pennsylvania, there is a good chance you have heard about ARD. Short for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, it’s a program for first-time offenders facing charges of driving under the influence (DUI). It is meant to allow these offenders a chance to avoid jail time and allow them to engage in a pre-trial diversionary program.

There are many good reasons to consider opting for ARD if given the choice. For starters, participants are not “convicted” of a crime, so their records remain clear. Additionally, the penalties under ARD tend to be less severe. Although most first-time offenders who are convicted must surrender their driver’s licenses for one year, this period may only be a couple months for an ARD participant.

There are plenty of good reasons to consider ARD, but the program is not without its drawbacks. For example, the surcharges for the program are steep and the probationary restrictions can be tough. Additionally, while participation in the program does not count as a conviction, it will nonetheless work against you should you later be convicted of a subsequent drunk driving offense within 10 years. In that case, the penalties could be much more severe, as a judge will treat the crime as a second offense.

ARD is a great option to avoid harsh DUI penalties, but it is not the only option. In fact, many people arrested for drunk driving have a variety of options at their disposal. For more information, work with skilled Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.

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