In many cases, first time offenders are eligible for a pretrial diversionary program known as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). Entry into the ARD program is often the most appropriate resolution of a first DUI offense, as it is not a conviction (although it does act as a conviction for purposes of sentencing on subsequent DUI offenses occurring within ten years), it results in a significantly shorter driver's license suspension, and it provides you with the opportunity to have the charges expunged from your criminal record upon successful completion of the program requirements. However, do not assume that because this is your first offense that you will be eligible for ARD. Several factors may prevent first time offenders from being eligible for the program. Appearing at your preliminary hearing without an experienced attorney places you at a disadvantage in the event that you are not provided with an offer to enter into the ARD program.
If this is your second or other subsequent offense within ten years of your first offense, it is even more important that you contact an attorney experienced in DUI defense. The penalties for two or more DUI offenses within a ten year period increase significantly and carry mandatory minimum sentencing requirements upon conviction. In the event that grounds for dismissal or reduction of the charges do not exist, or an acquittal is not achieved, the attorneys at Myers Duffy Dansak & Clegg may be able to minimize the impact of the mandatory minimum sentencing requirements on your life in the event that you are convicted of, or plead guilty to, such an offense.
DUI laws are complex and ever-changing. You owe it to yourself to speak with an attorney about the facts of your unique case as soon as possible.