Getting arrested for your first DUI is not and should not be the end of the world for you. But if it becomes a conviction it will have serious consequences. If you had a minor under the age of 14 in your vehicle, or if you caused bodily injury while impaired, those consequences will be even more serious.
All states have some type of diversionary programs available for DUI offenses, usually for first-time offenders.
There are several options for people arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania that can lower the charges and penalties.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) For DUI In Pennsylvania
Some first-time DUI offenders in Pennsylvania may be eligible for the ARD program, which bypasses the anxiety of a trial, potential conviction and imprisonment for a DUI. The results would be a non-conviction as you are effectively on PROBATION WITHOUT A VERDICT !
If you are a Tier I offense, (blood alcohol content of less than .10 percent but higher than .079 percent,) you will not lose your driving privileges, even with a guilty plea and there was no accident involved in your DUI offense.
You are eligible for the ARD Program if you meet the following requirements:
- It is a First-Offense DUI or any previous DUI offense was handled through the ARD program and is over ten years old (ten year look back)
- No previous convictions for any Misdemeanor or Felony offense
- No Bodily Injury to Another Person
- No Passenger Under the Age of 14 In Vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest
- Possess Valid Driver’s License
- Undergo Court Reporting Network Evaluation For Drug and Alcohol
- Apply for ARD At Preliminary Hearing or prior to your arraignment date
If you are accepted into the ARD Program, your fines and penalties will include:
- Mandatory Attendance at Alcohol Highway Safety School
- Community Service Hours (to be decided by the individual county’s District Attorney’s office)
- Six months to One Year Probation
- 30 to 90 dayLicense Suspension, dependent on the BAC and timely completion of the programs requirements
- Eligible for Expungement – After completing the ARD Program, a civil motion can be filed with the court and once approved, your records of arrest, mugshots and fingerprints may be erased from the public view. You won’t have to ever disclose the DUI arrest to prospective non-government employers or landlords, mainly because you were never convicted!
Violating any of the ARD Program requirements may end your participation in the program, which also means that the prosecutor can reinstate the charges against you. If you are convicted of the DUI charge, you may spend time in jail, and your license will be suspended for 12 months. (see our Ignition Interlock blog for exceptions)
Hiring An Aggressive DUI Lawyer
After you are arrested for a DUI, there is no guarantee the prosecutor will allow you to reduce your sentence and lower penalties for you.That’s why you need the expertise of the Law Office of Steven F. O’Meara. Our three key characteristics are experience, aggressive and trusted. Call us today at (610) 565-9200 to schedule your free consultation.