Can I avoid having my license suspended for my DUI charge by participating in ARD or am I eligible for a bread and butter license?
DUI License Suspension Law Firm
While participation in ARD can avoid a conviction of the Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence offense for most purposes, participation in ARD for a DUI offense does result in a suspension of Pennsylvania driving privileges for most people. Suspensions of driving privileges for participating in the ARD program for a DUI are mandatory, meaning a judge does not have discretion to consider every case individually and impose a suspension length that the judge deems to be appropriate.
How long will my Pennsylvania license be suspended by participating in ARD for a DUI?
Generally speaking, the suspension is based upon the DUI charge that was filed, and the DUI charge is based upon the blood alcohol level. For example, if a person is over 21 and had a blood alcohol level of less than .10%, then they would not incur a suspension of driving privileges. Generally, if the person was over 21 and had a blood alcohol level of at least .10% but less than .16%, then the suspension of driving privileges is 30 days. Generally, if the person is over 21 and the blood alcohol level was above a .16%, then the suspension is 60 days. If the person was under 21, then the suspension is 90 days. For DUI charges based upon drugs instead of alcohol, the suspension is 60 days.
The suspensions are primarily linked to charges, with the exception being that persons under 21 may always receive a 90 day suspension. In order avoid or reduce a suspension, the person must be placed on ARD for a lesser charge of DUI. For example, an experienced DUI defense attorney is aware that the blood alcohol tests have a margin of error, and a margin of error argument can be used at times to argue that a DUI defendant’s blood alcohol level could have been below a threshold level. For example, if a DUI defendant was charged with having a blood alcohol level of .162%, that person is facing a 60 day suspension. A margin of error argument may be asserted to convince the district attorney to dismiss the charge of having a blood alcohol level above .16% and have the DUI client placed on ARD for a charge alleging that the blood alcohol level was at least .10% but less than .16% to reduce the suspension of driving privileges from 60 to 30 days. The only way to reduce or avoid the suspension of driving privileges when participating in ARD is to convince the district attorney to dismiss the most severe DUI charges, but convincing the district attorney to dismiss charges is often not an easy task.
Bread and Butter Occupational Limited License and ARD
Many people believe or hope that they are eligible to obtain a bread and butter of Occupational Limited License (OLL). An OLL allows a Pennsylvania resident to drive to and from work, school, and medically related appointments. Regretfully, many people that need OLLs are not eligible to receive them. Issuance of the OLL is governed by section 1553 of the Vehicle Code, meaning the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) does not exercise much discretion in determining who is eligible to receive an OLL. PennDOT is not allowed to consider an applicant’s need for an OLL in determining which people are eligible. More specifically, the OLL directs PennDOT to whom an OLL can be issued. Regretfully, subsection 1553(d)(6) expressly prohibits the issuance of an OLL for suspensions that are based upon participation in ARD for a DUI offense. Therefore, a person that incurs a suspension based upon participation in the ARD program for a DUI offense is not eligible to receive an OLL.
Contact our Pennsylvania criminal defense law firm today for a free initial consultation at (814) 954-7622.