First Offenders & ARD Program

Many people charged with DUI are first time offenders and therefore eligible for a special program in Pennsylvania known as the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or ARD program. This program is available to those who have never had a DUI within the last 10 years and have had no other convictions or arrests for any felonies or misdemeanors.

There are some general rules that apply to all accelerated dispositions found in: 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3807. These are generally as follows: a limited license suspension with no license suspension for anyone in the first tier, a one month license suspension for anyone in the second tier, a two month license suspension for anyone in the third tier and a three month license suspension for anyone in the second or third tier with an accident or a chemical test refusal.


In addition, there is to be probation which is generally non-reporting probation for anywhere not less than 6 months nor more than one year. In addition, the defendant must undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with all of the requirements of the evaluation and pay all of the court costs. No one will be admitted to the ARD program where there was an accident involving death or serious personal injury nor where there was a child under the age of 14 in the offending vehicle.

There are also additional conditions which are set by various district attorneys in each county which as long as applied equally are permissible under the ARD program. For example, in most counties, although not all, a defendant will not be admitted to the ARD program if his or her operating privileges are suspended at the time of the offense. Likewise, in some counties the defendant will not be admitted to the program if he or she left the scene of an accident even the accident was relatively minor.

The administration of each ARD program is regulated by the District Attorney’s Office of the county in which the DUI was obtained. Each counties’ procedures can vary considerably and therefore it is important for a defendant to check the ARD requirements of the county in which he or she was charged. The following are the links to the four county districts:

Record Expungement

One of the most important things about the ARD program is upon completion of the program, since there is no plea of guilt nor finding of guilt, the charges can be expunged from the defendant’s criminal record. Upon completion of all of the requirements of the program, including the license suspension and payment of all court costs, a petition can be filed with the county in which the DUI occurred and in order to have the charges, the arrest and everything relating thereto removed from the record both locally with the county police and the county court but also with the Pennsylvania State Police records. Although an expungement is available, it is not automatic upon completion of the ARD program and each defendant is responsible for the costs of having the expungement done.

Record expunged paperwork
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