When looking at the severity of the penalties that can be imposed for DUI charges, it is easy for one to feel their life is over after being convicted.
However, there are many ways to avoid getting the maximum sentence, especially for first-time offenders who can show remorse for their actions.
One of the best ways to get a suspended prosecution and potentially have a DUI charge expunged is through the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) program. More information on this program and how it can help DUI offenders is discussed in the following article.
What Is ARD?
ARD can best be described as a suspended prosecution that is authorized by the District Attorney for DUI charges in return for the offender agreeing to participate in a rehabilitative program.
An ARD program offers offenders a pathway to have their cases dropped and their criminal records expunged. However, the expungement of their arrest history is not a guaranteed part of the ARD agreement, meaning the accused will need the best DUI attorneys in Fort Worth TX by their side to make sure that part is included.
The purpose of the ARD program is to:
Reduce the burden of too many inmates in correctional facilities
Save the courts a lot of time by not having the case go to trial
Avoid having to imprison minor offenders with hardened criminals which are known to encourage further criminal activity upon release
Who Is Eligible for the ARD Program?
Eligibility for the ARD program is strictly controlled, and the following are some of the requirements:
The accused must not have any previous convictions
At the time of the arrest, the accused must have had a valid license and adequate insurance
Serious injuries or death must not have been caused by an accident due to the actions of the defendant
No minors must have been present in the vehicle at the time of the arrest
What Does Submitting To ARD Entail?
While opting for the ARD program is the better option for drivers faced with a DUI charge, it is by no means a free pass. The accused will still have to answer for their actions by adhering to the following ARD provisions:
Regular alcohol evaluations as prescribed by the court
Mandatory participation in Alcohol Highway Safety School
A probation period of not less than six months during which time a similar offense must not be committed
If BAC was higher than 0.16%, they must submit to a full drug and alcohol assessment
Mandatory license suspension
Fees for Alcohol Highway Safety School and costs for drug evaluations ad treatments
Financial damages to any victims of the accident
Any other requirements deemed appropriate by the court
Community Service Is Essential
No ARD can be granted without the defendant agreeing to complete a prescribed number of hours of community service. The specific number of hours that are required differs from one state to the next.
Furthermore, the nature of the community service is left to the discretion of the court, but it is usually not something that can be deemed to be particularly punitive. Only after the successful completion of community service can the defendant try to get their DUI record expunged.
Usually, the defendant is given up to 24 months to complete all the requirements of their ARD program, including community services. However, most DUI defendants can finish much quicker.
What Should Offenders Who Are Denied ARD Do?
Not all first-time DUI offenders will be offered ARD because the decision is left to the discretion of the District Attorney and the courts. However, even in cases where ARD has been denied, all is not lost.
A good lawyer can approach the courts and ask that the decision be reconsidered. In cases where exclusion from the ARD program has been done illegally, the defense lawyer can file a motion for the court to overthrow the District Attorney’s decision.
Getting help from an experienced attorney at Sparks Law Firm can help your chances greatly. If you have any questions regarding a DUI, such as what is the difference between physical control and DUI or which day of the year has the most DUI arrests, schedule a free consultation.
Contact Sparks Law Firm for Help
ARD can be the best way for drivers accused of DUI to pay for their mistakes in a way that is helpful to the community, reduces the burden on courts and correctional facilities, and does not leave the accused saddled with a DUI conviction for the rest of their lives. Sparks Law Firm is here to assist!