If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Pennsylvania, you may well be quite scared and nervous about what a DUI charge will mean for you. What are the penalties you could face? Will you have to go to jail? Are you going to lose your license?
Before you get ahead of yourself, you should know that there may be alternatives to traditional DUI sentences through accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD).
Rehabilitation over punishment
The purpose of ARD is to help a person through treatment and rehabilitation, rather than putting them through lengthy, costly trials and unnecessarily harsh imprisonment.
Depending on the individual and the county, the program can require participants to:
- Undergo alcohol or drug treatment
- Pay for related program costs
- Complete an alcohol highway safety class
- Have a suspended license for a short period
- Be on probation
- Perform community service
If an individual successfully completes the program, the courts can dismiss the charge, and your criminal record will be intact.
ARD gives individuals the opportunity to get help and learn from a mistake. And the fact is that many people charged with drunk driving are not habitual offenders or violent people. Often, those arrested for DUI are people who made a mistake or misjudged their level of impairment.
Under these circumstances, traditional punishments through the courts could ultimately do more harm than good.
Am I eligible for ARD?
Ordinarily, the people who are eligible for ARD are those who:
- Are first-time offenders
- Were not in a serious crash at the time
- Did not have a child in the car at the time
- Lend themselves to treatment and rehabilitation instead of punishment
Parties who fit these criteria could be a candidate for the ARD program.
Understand that legal representation can be crucial in navigating the legal process, including requesting inclusion in the program. The attorneys at the Quinn Law Firm can help you assess your options and defend against overly harsh penalties if you are facing DUI charges. For more information, you can call 814-806-2518.