Though some believe Pennsylvania is harsh towards punishing drunk drivers, the state does recognize the lifelong consequences one charge along can bring. That’s why it has the Accelerated Rehabilitive Disposition, a program which isn’t offered in any other state. This allows first-time offenders with no prior criminal convictions the chance to rehabilitate with fines and community service without having to go through tedious court proceedings. After completion, they can ask the court to expunge their record.
While the offender still has to pay some fees, it is still one of the better options for most facing DUI charges because they will not receive jail time and the charge dismiss with expungement means they do not have to worry about it getting in the way of their careers. However, not everyone facing DUI charges will be eligible for the ARD program. It is important for these people to know if they do not qualify so they can spend more time preparing for their cases.
The state specifically made the ARD for first time offenders. If a person commits a similar time in a few short years after completing the program, then the state will find that it did not work and will convict them for the standard punishment for second time and subsequent offenses. The only instances where they will accept second time offenders is if it has been over 10 years since their first offense.
Severe injuries or death
Pennsylvania also designed the ARD for non-violent offenses. If anyone other than the driver on trial died or received severe bodily injuries from the crash, then the court will refuse the request for ARD. This area tends to not be straightforward since it is up to the court to determine if the victim’s condition qualify as “severe bodily injuries.”
The court will not grant ARD to drunk drivers who also committed the following offenses:
- Driving with no license
- Driving with a passenger under 14 years old with them
- Driving with a suspended license
- Driving with blood alcohol level that is 0.30% or above
- Driving without car insurance
Those potentially facing first time offense drunk driving charges need to review their case to determine if applying for ARD is worth it. A criminal defense attorney can help them figure out what the best course of action to take is.