Who is eligible for ARD and what factors does the district attorney consider in determining ARD approval?

First-time offenders of DUI May be eligible for ARD

Many first-time offenders of drunk driving or DUI may be eligible to participate in ARD. While we generally refer to ARD as a “first-time offender” program, some people that have previously been charged and even convicted of DUI offenses that occurred more than 10 years ago may be eligible to seek admission into the ARD program. In considering whether or not a person charged with a DUI offense is likely to be approved for ARD, an experienced DUI defense attorney undertakes a two-step analysis: 1) is the DUI-ARD applicant eligible under the law; and 2) is the DUI-ARD applicant likely to be approved by the district attorney in the county in which the person was charged. Under step one, the DUI defense attorney considers the facts of the particular case to determine if state law prohibits a person from being approved for ARD.

Pennsylvania law prohibits some people from being considered for admission into the ARD program, such as if a passenger under the age of 14 was in the vehicle of the suspected DUI driver, or if the DUI involved an accident and someone other than the driver was seriously injured. Assuming a person charged with DUI is eligible for ARD consideration under state law, the DUI defense attorney then considers the general DUI-ARD parameters in the particular county in which the DUI charge was filed. The district attorney of every county selects which ARD applicants are approved for admission into the program, and the district attorney’s decision generally is final and cannot be overruled by a judge as long as the decision was not based upon the applicant’s gender, sexual orientation, race, or other discriminatory factors.

ARD Eligibility is Established by District Attorney

As every county’s ARD eligibility is established by the district attorney of that county, it is important to consult with a DUI attorney that has experience in the county in which the charges are filed to ensure that you obtain advice from an attorney familiar with the local procedures.

Free initial consultation

State College criminal defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle has represented people charged with DUI in many counties across Pennsylvania, including Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Huntingdon, and Mifflin counties. If Attorney Dunkle does not practice in the county in which you have been charged, as a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he can probably give you contact information for an experienced DUI defense attorney in your area. Contact Attorney Dunkle for a free consultation at (814) 954-7622 or via email.