Grant C. Travis; Chad J. Vilushis; and Douglas G. McCormick
DUI Penalties in PAPennsylvania DUI Attorney

Attorney Grant C. Travis
Attorney Chad J. Vilushis
Attorney Douglas G. McCormick

100 State St. • Ste. 210 • Erie, PA • 16507
Call us: 814-455-3839Driving Directions
102 Lorna Lane • Edinboro, PA • 16412
Call us: 814-734-6076Driving Directions
400 Market Street • Warren, PA • 16365
Call us: 814-723-6120Driving Directions

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or “ARD”, is a pre-trial diversion program in Pennsylvania “designed to divert first-time DUI offenders from the criminal justice system.”1 Acceptance into the ARD program will suspend the prosecution of a case before trial (in other words place the case on hold) as long as the defendant complies with certain conditions imposed by the court.2

A defendant accepted into the ARD program is placed under supervision for a specified period of time.  ARD supervision is a lot like probation.  If the defendant successfully completes the ARD program, the DUI charges will be dismissed and the defendant may apply for an “expungement,” which is a court-ordered deletion of the arrest record and the ARD disposition.3

Pennsylvania DUI law requires each county to establish and maintain an ARD program for first DUI offenders.  In Erie County, eligibility for the Erie County ARD Program is solely determined by the Erie County District Attorney.  The Erie County District Attorney’s Office enjoys broad discretion in deciding which cases will be accepted into ARD and has established guidelines for this purpose.  Under Pennsylvania DUI law, a first-time DUI offender has no right to be accepted into the Erie County ARD program and eligibility is determined on a case by case basis.   

PA DUI law permits each county to establish its own policies governing admission into ARD.  First DUI offenders are often treated differently from county to county when it comes to being accepted into ARD.  One should not assume that acceptance into ARD is guaranteed just because he or she is a first-time DUI offender.  The Erie County District Attorney is known for taking a hard-line stance against drunk drivers.   For instance, a first DUI offender may be denied acceptance into ARD on the basis that the offender had a high blood alcohol content (BAC) or that the underlying DUI offense resulted in an accident involving injury or property damage. 

There are several benefits for seeking admission into the Erie County ARD program.  By accepting ARD, a first DUI offender avoids the possibility of jail time and a criminal conviction.  Also, the period of license suspension is drastically reduced from a period of one year to a period of thirty to ninety days.  For these reasons it is critically important to consult with knowledgeable criminal attorneys experienced in handling PA DUI cases.  Let the DUI Defense Group help you determine your eligibility for ARD.  Only experienced attorneys like those found at the DUI Defense Group can give you an informed opinion about your chances of being accepted into the PA DUI first-time offender’s program.

1 Wile, Timothy P. and Marc A. Werlinsky, West’s Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence, Thomson/West, 2007.  
2 Id.
3 Id.

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