ARD in a General Impairment Case
If I have a General Impairment case and the District Attorney offers me ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) in a case where I believe I am not guilty, should I take ARD?
This is a very difficult question. The reason the question is difficult is that the only real difference is the risk of a permanent record if you are convicted. For general impairment first time DUI case, the DUI penalties for the conviction are not that much different then the ARD penalties.
The reason the question is so hard to answer is that many people are arrested when they should not have been arrested are not guilty of any crimes. The penalties for a first time DUI conviction or ARD in a general impairment case do not involve jail time nor do they include a license suspension, so the distinction is just the permanency of the conviction. Whether you are convicted or if you get ARD, if you pick up a second DUI within 10 years, that DUI counts as a second DUI. Therefore, the only real difference is the conviction itself. However, if you go to trial, you may likely be found not guilty because the burden of proof on the District Attorney is way higher in a general impairment case.
The answer is very fact specific. I will give two answers: 1. if there is an operation defense; 2. if there is not an operation defense.
If you were not the driver of the car, you should consider rejecting ARD and going to trial on an operation defense buttressed by the general impairment defense. For an operation defense, make sure your lawyer reviews all of the points of an operation defense. If you are asleep in the backseat of the car with the engine running, many judges will find you guilty, so really discuss this issue with your lawyer first.
No Operation Defense
If you were the driver of the car, you should consider accepting the ARD if you failed any field sobriety tests, if you were in an accident, and if your BAC (blood alcohol content) was close to 0.08. I would need to read the discovery in your case, but I would also want to know why you got pulled over in the first place.