What are the ARD requirements for a DUI offense?
The basic idea behind the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program is that person pleads “not guilty” to the DUI charges, but the person agrees to comply with certain rules and complete requirements in order to complete the ARD program. Upon completion, the person can go through the expungement process to have the DUI charges removed from the criminal record, but a notation WILL remain on the person’s driving record to track the ARD resolution as being a “prior offense” of DUI in Pennsylvania. In order to get the charges the dismissed, the person must successfully complete ARD.
ARD Requirements for DUI
The “punishment” or conditions and requirements of ARD are often relatively severe and onerous. ARD requirements and conditions vary from county to county and even vary from case to case. Many ARD programs include the following requirements:
- Supervision by Probation: most counties impose a period of “supervision” by the probation department of between 6 and 12 months – supervision requires a person to stay out of trouble and normally contact a probation officer – some counties require in-person meetings with the probation officer, others allow for phone calls or emails
- Completion of Alcohol Highway Safety School: is commonly referred to as the “DUI Class” and is state-mandated, meaning every ARD-DUI case must complete this class – consists of 12.5 hours of alcohol education and testing – some counties allow for completion of this class online in certain situations, other counties do not allow online but may allow a person to complete the classes in another county in Pennsylvania
- Suspension of Pennsylvania Driving Privileges: suspensions are normally mandatory under 75 Pa.C.S. 3807 – length of suspension ranges from 0, 30, 60, or 90 days – duration of suspension is primarily based upon blood alcohol level and specific DUI charge – suspension is effective after the person is admitted into ARD
- Payment of ARD costs/fees: the person is not convicted, so there is not fine, but the court still imposes costs/fees for the above referenced ARD requirements (supervision, DUI class), and things like the blood test and fingerprint processing – in many counties ARD costs/fees for a DUI can range from approximately $2,500.00 to $3,000.00
- Drug or Alcohol Counseling: many counties require a person to submit to a drug and alcohol evaluation to see if the person has an addiction or abuse issue – if the evaluation carries a recommendation for drug or alcohol counseling, then completion of such counseling is often an ARD requirement – if treatment is not recommended, then treatment is not required
- Community Service: not every county imposes community service – some counties, like Centre, require low amounts of service (1 day) but mandate that the service is completed in Centre County – other counties impose higher amount of service (50 to 100 hours) but allow the person to complete the service anywhere
If you hired an experienced DUI defense attorney, you should contact your attorney if you have questions about your ARD requirements. If you didn’t hire a good lawyer, you can contact the probation officer assigned to handle ARD-DUI cases and seek clarification of any outstanding ARD requirements. Too often people assume that they have done all that was required only to find out on the expected ARD completion date that some requirements were not completed. At that point, the person is scrambling to get an extension of ARD supervision to complete the ARD requirements or facing a removal from ARD. If the probation officer won’t allow for an extension, it is possible that you could appear before the judge at an ARD revocation hearing, explain the situation to the judge, and request that the judge extend ARD. An experienced attorney can help to avoid removal from ARD. It is better to hire an attorney sooner rather than later.