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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lancaster County ARD Program

The Lancaster County ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) Program delays the final resolution of your charges pending the completion of the program. Assuming that you are eligible for the program and complete all of the program requirements, your charges will be dismissed and it is possible to have your criminal record will be expunged.

First, let's talk about eligibility. To be eligible for the ARD Program, this must be your first DUI offense within 10 years, you must be a licensed driver, you must not have been involved in an accident involving personal injury, you must not have been operating a vehicle without insurance, and you must not have had a child under the age of 14 as a passenger in your vehicle. That is the minimum eligibility requirement. However, the District Attorney has additional eligibility requirements related to prior DUIs, prior criminal offenses, and maximum BAC requirements. Therefore, it is important to consult with Lancaster County DUI Defense Attorney, F. Dean Morgan at before applying for ARD.

Next, lets talk about why ARD is not always the right option: ARD is the lesser of two evils. yes, it is better than a guilty plea (in most cases), but make no mistake, it is not a "gift." If your BAC is between .10 and .159, you will lose your license for 30 days. If you BAC is above .16, you will lose your license for 60 days. You will not be eligible for an Occupational Limited License (OLL) during that time. If you are thinking about driving during your suspension, your should be aware that there is a minimum 60 days in jail that you will be serving if you are convicted of Driving While Suspended-DUI Related. 90 days if you have a BAC of .02 or above when you are driving while suspended.

If you have a Commercial Driver's License, it will be disqualified for 12 months. If you have a prior major offense, your CDL will be disqualified for life.

You may also have to perform community service. You will have to attend Alcohol Highway Safety School. You will have to have a Drug & Alcohol Evaluation and you may have to go to counseling. You will have to pay some money to the county for the privilege of being a part of the program. Program fees can exceed 1900.00.

You should be aware that if you do successfully complete the program and are subsequently arrested for DUI within the next ten years, your admission to the ARD program will enhance the penalties for the second offense just as if you had pleaded guilty.

Not much of a gift, right? That is why it is absolutely imperative to have your case fully and fairly evaluated by an experienced and knowledgeable DUI Defense Attorney. If you first call to an attorney leads him to recommend ARD without considering any other alternative, you are likely throwing away your money. I have had the unfortunate experience of having to inform a client facing a second offense DUI that his first attorney could have successfully litigated the case to a dismissal if he had simply tried.

ARD is not the best choice for everyone. A good DUI Defense attorney will evaluate your case completely before making such a recommendation. A good DUI defense attorney will consider whether the officer had probable cause to detain you, probable cause to arrest you, and whether the chemical tests were conducted properly and were likely to report the appropriate estimated BAC. Only after considering all available options will a DUI attorney recommend ARD.

Once in the program, you can be removed from the program if you violate the terms and conditions of your ARD probation. If so, your trial right are reinstated, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, it is important that your attorney understand every aspect of your case in case he needs to take it to trial or renegotiate following your removal.

For more information about ARD and DUI Defense, contact me directly at 1-888-821-9446 or online at

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