The vast majority of DUI cases in Delaware County, PA, involve a person who has no prior charges for DUI. In fact, in many of these cases, the person has no criminal record of any kind. A person arrested for a first offense DUI is unlikely to be arrested for another crime in the future. For this reasons, the Pennsylvania legislature has created the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.
ARD is a pre-trial divisionary program that allows the record to be dismissed and expunged at the end of the case. Each county has its own eligibility requirements for ARD in DUI cases. In Delaware County, PA, eligibility is determined on a case by case basis by the district attorney’s office. During the screening process, certain aggravating circumstances might make a person automatically ineligible for ARD including:
- a prior conviction for a misdemeanor or felony offense;
- a prior ARD disposition within the past ten years;
- the driver did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the DUI because it was suspended, revoked or cancelled;
- the current DUI involves serious bodily injury of any person other than the defendant (75 Pa. C.S.A. 3807 (a)(2)(ii)); or
- a passenger under the age of 14 years old was in the vehicle at the time of the DUI (75 Pa. C.S.A. 3807 (a)(2)(iii)).
What Happens in the DUI-ARD Program?
To enter the DUI ARD Program in Delaware County, PA, the applicant must agree to complete certain requirements within a certain timeline. The participants are supervised under terms very similar to probation. The maximum period of supervision is two years, although in most cases it can be completed much faster.
To be accepted into the program, the defendant must submit to a Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation. In some cases, treatment or counseling is recommended. If counseling or treatment is recommended then it must be successfully completed.
For DUI cases involving a refusal to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, the arresting officer must send the “refusal form” to PennDOT and the District Attorney’s Office prior to the ARD hearing. To be eligible for the ARD Program, the applicant must apply for the program 14 days before the formal arraignment. The date of the formal arraignment will be set by the magistrate judge at the time of the preliminary hearing. [Click here to read more about the preliminary hearing in a DUI case in Delaware County, PA].
After the ARD program is completed successfully, the participant can petition the court to have the DUI charge dismissed and the case expunged. On the other hand, if the participant does not successfully complete the program then the person is removed from the program and put on a trial calendar.
If you were arrested for a first offense DUI in Delaware County, PA, you might have the option of entering the ARD program. Call Attorney Michael Skinner to learn more about how an attorney can help you get accepted into the ARD program and help you complete it as quickly as possible so that the record can be expunged.
If you are not eligible for ARD because of an aggravating factor or because of your prior record, then Michael Skinner can help you fight the charges in court.
Documents Required for the ARD Program in Delaware County, PA
Talk with an attorney at the Skinner Law Firm about applying for the ARD program in Delaware County. If you decide to enter the program, your attorney will submit several different documents to the Court Administrator at the courthouse located Media, PA. Those documents include:
- The Entry of Appearance by the attorney who will represent you during the application process;
- A form that Waives the Arraignment;
- The ARD Application;
- The ARD Rule 600 Waiver Form.
Completing the ARD Program
In most cases, when you enter the ARD program in Media, PA, you will be required to follow several terms and conditions before you can successfully complete the program. The prosecutors with the District Attorney’s Office in Delaware County specifically reserve the right to modify the standard terms depending on the fact of the case.
Participants in the program are generally classified into three tiers:
- Tier I applies to a BAC between 0.08% and 0.99% and requires 12 months of probation and 16 hours community service;
- Tier II requires 12 months of probation and 32 hours of community service and applies to:
- a BAC between 0.10% and 0.159%,
- to young people under 21 years old; and
- to cases involving an accident;
- Tier III requires 12 months of probation and 64 hours of community service and applies to:
- any BAC over 0.16%;
- a case involving drugs or controlled substances; or
- any refusal to submit to a breath, blood or urine test.
In certain types of cases, you might be able to have the community service hours reduced if you complete certain requirements within 60 days of the waiver of your preliminary hearing. Those conditions include:
- you waive the preliminary hearing;
- you submit to a CRN Evaluation;
- you complete the reduced number of community service hours;
- you complete the Safe Driving Course; and
- you schedule a drug and alcohol evaluation if it is required.
If you complete the above terms within the time allowed then you may only have to complete half of the community service hours that are otherwise required.
Entering the ARD program in Delaware County will cost approximately $1250. Unless your attorney has made prior arrangements with the District Attorney’s Office, the payment must be made with cash, check, money order, or Visa on the day of your ARD hearing. You must also pay a supervision fee of $35 per monthly or at the court appearance.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition ARD Unit in Delaware County – Visit the website of the Office of the District Attorney for Delaware County, John J. Whelan, to learn more about the ARD Unit. Find contact information for the Chief and Supervisor of the ARD Unit including their phone number and email address.
Frequently Asked Questions About ARD and DUI in Delaware County – Visit the website for the Court of Common Pleas in Delaware County, PA, to find frequently asked questions from Adult Probation and Parole. Find information about having the A.R.D. expunged, obtaining the expungement packet for the ARD case, what happens after a person is removed from the A.R.D. program, and how to schedule the Alcohol Safe Driving Classes or Track 1 Out-Patient DUI Classes.
Department of Diagnostic Services in Delaware County – Find contact information and office hours for Diagnostic Services in the Court House and Government Center Complex located at 201 West Front Street in Media, PA 19063. Diagnostic Services is responsible for completing all Court-ordered evaluations both from the Magisterial District Justice System, as well as the Court of Common Pleas within the Thirty-Second Judicial District. Those services include the Court Reporting Network (C.R.N.) Evaluation which is required in every DUI offense. Also find a list of approved DUI treatment providers located in and around Delaware County including in Drexel Hill, Chester, Media, Upper Darby, Brookhaven, Lima, Sharon Hill, Newton Square, PA.
Lawyer for a First DUI in Delaware County, PA
The ARD program applies to a variety of offenses including DUI cases. Recent statistics in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania show that approximately 90% of the men and women in the ARD program were arrested for DUI. The purpose of the pre-trial program is to help the participant understand the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol so the offense is not repeated. The ARD also allows for a faster resolution in these cases which saves money and allows the criminal justice system to focus on more serious cases.
After an arrest for a first offense of driving under the influence in Delaware County, PA, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Skinner Law Firm. Michael Skinner is focused on fighting DUI cases involving either a high BAC after a breath or blood test, or a case involving a refusal to submit to test. Talk with an attorney for first DUI in Delaware County, PA.
Call Michael Skinner to learn more about the benefits of entering the ARD program so that your record can be expunged. Call 610-565-3320 today to discuss your case.