V. Erik Petersen

DUI First Offenses

Pennsylvania DUI First Offense Lawyer

If you have been arrested for your first offense DUI, your options are greater. Pennsylvania has a first time offender program known as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. If you qualify, this program eliminates the mandatory jail sentences associated with the DUI charges and significantly reduces the length of any driver's license suspension that is applicable. ARD also allows for the ultimate dismissal of the charges as well as an expungement of the arrest record. Acceptance into the ARD program is completely controlled by the District Attorney's Office, therefore having an attorney who has a good working relationship and reputation with the District Attorney's Office is important.

At the Law Offices of V. Erik Petersen, I am a former Assistant District Attorney that knows the ins and outs of this program and knows exactly how to get you admitted. It is best to hire an attorney before your Preliminary Hearing so that the ARD process goes as smooth as possible. However, if you have already had your Preliminary Hearing, I can still help you gain admission into the ARD program. Contact me, a drunk driving defense lawyer that can help you understand your rights and options.

Not all first time DUI offenders qualify for the ARD program.
Below is a short list of the most common reasons someone does not qualify for ARD.

   1. If you have a prior criminal record.
   2. If the DUI charge involves an accident and someone was seriously injured.
   3. If a passenger in the car you were driving was 14 years old or younger.

Each county in Pennsylvania has its own policies and procedures when it comes to the ARD program. For example, some counties will reject an ARD applicant if they had a prior DUI charge more than 10 years old. In other counties (Bucks and Northampton for example) the D.A.'s Office will make you plead guilty to all summary offenses at the time of your ARD admission. In those counties it is critical to get the summary charges dismissed at the Preliminary Hearing if possible. Suffice it to say, you need an experienced attorney to steer you through the ARD process.

    * Some first time offenders are eligible for a work license. A work license or bread and butter license allows you to drive to and from work, school and medical appointments. I can assist you in obtaining this license if you are eligible.
    * Please do not come to the conclusion that I just simply have all first time offenders apply for ARD. Some first time DUI offenders have a good defense to the charges, and if so I will fight those charges all the way through a trial if necessary.

If you have been arrested for your first drunk driving (DUI) charge, contact a DUI first offense lawyer at the Law Offices of V. Erik Petersen for a free consultation at my Harleysville office.


The Law Offices of V. Erik Petersen represents clients throughout Pennsylvania including the cities of Lansdale, Norristown, North Wales, Kulpsville, Collegeville, Blue Bell, Reading, Doylestown, Pottstown, Philadelphia, Hatboro, King of Prussia, Conshohocken, Sellersville, Levittown, Harleysville, Hatfield, Horsham, Hatboro, Skippack, Telford, and Limerick.

Montgomery County • Bucks County • Berks County • Chester County • Delaware County • Philadelphia County • Lehigh County • Northampton County

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