DUI in Delaware County

What Happens after a First DUI in Delaware County, PA?

Traffic Stop

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:

  1. a prior conviction for a misdemeanor or felony offense;
  2. a prior ARD disposition within the past ten years;
  3. the driver did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the DUI because it was suspended, revoked or cancelled;
  4. the current DUI involves serious bodily injury of any person other than the defendant (75 Pa. C.S.A. 3807 (a)(2)(ii)); or
  5. 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:

  1. The Entry of Appearance by the attorney who will represent you during the application process;
  2. A form that Waives the Arraignment;
  3. The ARD Application;
  4. 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.

Additional Resources

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.

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Do I Need an Attorney for ARD after a DUI Arrest in Delaware County, PA?

One of the most common questions a person might ask after a DUI arrest in Chester County or Delaware County, PA, is whether they need to hire a criminal defense attorney to help them enter the ARD program. ARD stands for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program used in the courts throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

With offices in West Chester and Media, PA, we help clients enter and successfully complete ARD so the DUI record can be expunged. We understand the requirements of the ARD Program in Chester County and the ARD Program in Delaware County, PA. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call for a free consultation.

What is the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program in Pennsylvania?

As previously explained by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania:

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program is a special pre-trial intervention program for non-violent offenders who have a limited or no prior record. The A.R.D. program takes a “rehabilitative” stance instead of a punitive one. The purpose of A.R.D. is to determine, at an early stage, defendants who will respond to the treatment and education and, therefore, decrease their chance of future incidents of the same nature. A.R.D. is completely voluntary and the defendant must ask to be accepted into the program. Pa. R.Crim. P. 313(A).

Lihota v. Dep’t of Transp., Bureau of Driver Licensing, 811 A.2D 1117, 1118, n. 2 (Pa. Cmwlth.2002).

The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney for the DUI ARD Program

The benefits of hiring an experienced DUI Defense attorney for an ARD case in Pennsylvania include:

Determining Eligibility: The attorneys at Skinner Law Firm are experienced with helping men and women enter and complete the ARD program. When the program is completed, we help our clients expunge the record as quickly as possible. We believe in proving a full service approach.

As a preliminary matter, we can help you determine during our first meeting whether you are eligible for the ARD program in Chester County or Delaware County, PA. Determining eligibility is important for two reasons:

  • First, our clients want to know up front whether they are eligible for ARD so that the record can be expunged. If they are not eligible, then our clients want to know how to mount an aggressive defense to fight to avoid a conviction and the other direct and indirect consequences that come with the conviction (jail, fines, suspension, a criminal record, etc.); and
  • Second, in order to obtain the full benefits of ARD, a client must waive their preliminary hearing. If a client is not eligible for ARD, then waiving the preliminary may be a wasted opportunity to “lock the witness” into a statement and preserve any pretrial issues, including suppression and credibility issues.

Protect Against Over Zealous Police/Prosecutor: Police and prosecutors are experienced in the law and are not looking out for your best interest. Police often over charge and prosecutors sometime fail to disclose exculpatory evidence. An experienced DUI defense attorney in Pennsylvania can help make sure that police and prosecutors play by the rules. An experience attorney will level the playing field by looking out for your best interest.

In some instances, the District Attorney’s Office in Delaware County or Chester County, PA, may deny your ARD application without justification. In those instances, an attorney can file an appeal and get you approved for the program. In other instances, the DA’s office may push extra conditions on you without cause. An attorney can challenge those extra conditions and save you the additional time and money you would have spent completing those unwarranted conditions.

Get Accurate Information/Advice: Relying on information found online can be dangerous because that information is not always reliable or accurate. Since every county administers the ARD program differently, local attorneys know the unwritten rules and customs. Local attorneys understand the judge and the procedures used in that courtroom that can be used to your advantage.

We have represented hundreds of men and women in the ARD program and our experience will guide you safely through the programs. We can help you with unexpected issues that come up. Having the security and peace of mind that you are getting correct and accurate advice cannot be understated. We help our clients deal with issues surrounding:

  • Travel restriction. Once you are on ARD, you will not be freely allowed to travel outside Pennsylvania (let alone outside the country) without court approval.
  • What to expect during the CRN evaluation, what kind of questions will be asked, and how long the evaluation will last.
  • What to expect during the the alcohol highway safety school , i.e. safe driving course.
  • Tips to get the community service hours waived and/or reduced.
  • Best practices when attending the drug and alcohol assessment. We know which treatment facilities have longer wait times and which will likely require treatment. We can help direct clients exactly where to go, how much it will costs, and what to expect so that there are no surprises.
  • Tips to make sure you get your driver’s license back after the ARD suspension and that you get it on time. PennDOT often fails to return the license on time after a suspension.
  • How to avoid paying unnecessary ARD costs.
  • How to get on non-reporting probation and avoid reporting probation.
  • What to expect while on probation.

Avoiding Complication/ARD removal – Pro se individuals who attempt to represent themselves in the courtroom without an attorney will not be treated any different by the court than those with an attorney. That means you will be expected to know all the local and state rules pertaining to the ARD process. Failure to follow any rule or requirement may result in you being denied ARD or being removed from ARD. It is not uncommon to see pro se individuals denied ARD because of some “technical reason.”

Expunging the Record – After successful completion of ARD, you are entitled to petition to expunge the record. However, it is up to you (the accused) to file the paperwork and to make sure it gets done correctly. In Pennsylvania, the DUI record is not automatically expunged. The attorneys at Skinner Law Firm provide this service for our clients.

Attorneys for DUI ARD in Chester and Delaware County, PA

The DUI defense attorneys at the Skinner Law Firm are familiar with the requirements of the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program in Chester County and Delaware County, PA. If eligible, we can get you into the program so that you can complete the requirements as quickly as possible. We also help you expunge the record at the first opportunity so that you can put the case behind you and move on with your life.

Some people, including employers and licensing boards, may mistakenly believe a charge is actually a conviction. Expunging the record is a completely separate legal process. In fact, it is the main benefit of entering the ARD program so it is important to make sure the record is expunged. The attorneys at Skinner Law Firm handle expunging the record as part of the DUI case, so that our clients don’t need to worry about clearing the record on their own.

Call us to discuss the case today.

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