If you have been arrested for your first-offense DUI, you most likely have options that will allow you to resolve the charges without being subject to the harsh mandatory penalties that could be imposed against you. If you are facing a first-offense DUI you should not panic or put your life on hold. 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, an experienced DUI 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.
If you have a prior criminal record.
If the DUI charge involves an accident and someone was seriously injured.
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. Some counties will reject an ARD applicant if there was an accident. In other counties, 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.
Ignition Interlock License
Most first-time DUI offenders are eligible for an Ignition Interlock License. An Ignition Interlock License allows you to drive anywhere and at any time as long as you have the device in your car and you blow into it as required. I can assist you in obtaining this license if you are eligible.
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.
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