Articles Posted in ARD Program

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drunk drivingIf you are convicted of a second DUI offense in Pennsylvania, you may face increased penalties. While in most cases it is clear what constitutes a second DUI offense, in some circumstances clarification is required as to whether a prior disposition of a DUI charge constitutes an offense. In Shaffer v. Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania held that acceptance of Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) for a Pennsylvania DUI charge constituted an offense for purposes of license suspension. If you are charged with a DUI and have previously been convicted of a DUI or accepted ARD for a DUI charge, you should consult an experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney to discuss the facts of your case and determine how to defend against the charges you face.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the suspect was charged with a DUI in February 2014, after which he was accepted into an ARD program. The suspect was then arrested for a second DUI in January 2015, prior to his completion of the ARD program. Due to his second arrest, the state filed a petition to terminate the suspect’s participation in the ARD program, which was granted. The suspect then pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of recklessly endangering another person for the 2014 DUI charge, and pleaded guilty to general impairment for the 2015 DUI charge. Reportedly, the suspect was subsequently notified by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that his license was suspended for one year for the 2015 DUI charge, due to the fact the DMV considered his acceptance of ARD a prior offense. The suspect appealed the suspension. On appeal, the Court of Common Pleas affirmed the suspension.

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On July 22, 2015, a driver was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance. On April 15, 2016, he petitioned for acceptance into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. The Commonwealth approved his petition, and, on June 2, 2016, the trial court accepted him into the ARD program. On September 23, 2016, he filed a petition to remove himself from the ARD program. On November 30, 2016, the trial court held a hearing on his petition and denied the petition.

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The driver raised one issue on appeal before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania:  whether the trial court erred by denying his petition to remove himself from the ARD program following his Pennsylvania drugged driving conviction.

The appeals court first ascertained whether the order was properly appealable. In general, the court’s jurisdiction “extends only to review of final orders.” A final order is defined as any order that:  (1) disposes of all claims and of all parties; (2) is explicitly defined as a final order by statute; or (3) is entered as a final order pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 341(c). With respect to criminal cases, the general rule is that a defendant may appeal only from a final judgment of sentence, and an appeal from any prior order or judgment will be quashed. The purpose of this rule is to prevent undue delay and avoid the disruption of criminal cases by piecemeal appellate review.