PROTECTING YOUR DRIVING PRIVILEGES
Have you received a citation for speeding, careless driving, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, or another traffic violation in Pennsylvania? Before you admit guilt and pay that traffic ticket, please make certain that you fully understand and appreciate the consequences.
People often assume that traffic violations are relatively harmless, but the cost might be much greater than you think. There can be long-term effect on auto insurance rates and potential adverse consequences for subsequent traffic violations. Traffic violations usually result in points on your license, if not a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license. Obviously, the loss of your driver’s license can be disastrous as you likely rely on your driving privileges for work, for your family, and to run everyday errands.
If you wish to best avoid these consequences, you should consider hiring an attorney with experience in traffic law. Below are some of the most common traffic violations that DeLuco Law routinely handles.
If you are charged with Reckless Driving do not plead guilty unless you understand the consequences. Pursuant to 75 Pa.C.S. § 3736 a person is guilty of Reckless Driving if he or she drives any vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” This offense requires a level of deliberate intent, which is an important distinction in the eyes of the law. To be convicted the police must believe and prove that you were acting deliberately irresponsible behind the wheel.
A conviction of this charge carries significant consequences. The first part of the penalty, a $200 fine is relatively trivial. However, the second part of the penalty is a six-month suspension of your driver’s license making this charge very troublesome. Additionally, as with any other traffic violation, a conviction could also be punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
If you are facing a charge of Reckless Driving, you may have the opportunity to get your charges either lowered or dismissed, depending on the facts of your case. DeLuco Law and help you identify those opportunities, fight for your rights, and bring you the best possible outcome.
Driving While Operating Privileges Are Suspended
If you have ever had your driver’s license suspended, you know how difficult it can be to get back. Many people have had their driving privileges suspended for decades, but continue to drive out of necessity. If your license is suspended and you get pulled over the police will likely issue you a citation for Driving While Operating Privileges Are Suspended. This offense can carry the harshest penalties for summary traffic offenses.
In Pennsylvania, the penalties for driving with a suspended license depend on whether your license was suspended for a violation of the DUI law. If your suspension was related to a DUI, the penalties, including the possibility of jail time, are significantly greater.
If found guilty of driving on a suspended license – DUI related, section 1543(b)(1)) of the Motor Vehicle Code states that you “shall be sentenced to pay a fine of $500 and to undergo imprisonment for a period of not less than 60 days nor more than 90 days” and will have an additional one year added to your license suspension. If you are found guilty of driving on a suspended license – DUI related, while you have a blood alcohol concentration equal or greater than .02%, then section 1543(b)(1.1)) of the Motor Vehicle Code require a fine of $1,000, “imprisonment for a period of not less than 90 days,” and an additional year license suspension. Subsequent offenses carry even greater penalties up to a $5,000 fine and not less than two years of incarceration.
If your driver’s license suspension was not related to a DUI, you should still expect to face significant penalties if caught driving. A first conviction under section 1543(a) of the Motor Vehicle Code will be punished with a $200 fine and an additional one year added to your license suspension. Pursuant to section 6503(a) a second or subsequent 1543(a) offense shall be punishable with a fine between $200 and $1000 and a period of incarceration not to exceed six months. Pursuant to section 6503(a.1) a sixth or subsequent 1543(a) offense shall be punishable with a fine of $1000 and a jail sentence not less than 30 days, but not more than six months.
Because these penalties are so severe, please do not simply plead guilty if a police officer has issued you a ticket for driving while your license is suspended. Instead, contact an attorney experienced in traffic and driver’s license law to, at the very least, learn about your options. In practice, an attorney may be able to negotiate a plea to reduces your charge to a lesser summary offense and, in some cases, get the charge dismissed entirely. Additionally, DeLuco Law can review your driving record and determine if anything can be done to get you your license back sooner.
RESTORING YOUR DRIVING PRIVILEGES
Maybe you are one of the people who have discovered that when someone’s driving privileges are suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles, it can be very difficult to get those privileges reinstated. This is typically the case regardless of the initial reason for your suspension, whether it be for unpaid tickets, failure to respond to tickets, or a criminal conviction for a DUI or possession case. There are many nuances and loopholes involved in the driver’s license restoration process, but a law firm who specializes in Pennsylvania driver’s license restoration may be able to help you navigate the process and work through PennDot and/or the Courts to get your license back sooner.
Because everyone’s situation is unique and restoration requirements vary greatly, you should contact DeLuco Law for a free consultation to discuss your individual suspension. There is almost always something that can be done to help you get your driving privileges back sooner. Depending on your circumstances we may discuss the possibility of an Occupational Limited License (sometimes called OLL, bread n’ butter license, work license or occupational license), a Probationary License, or fully restoring your Pennsylvania Driver’s License.
DeLuco Law has been very successful at getting Pennsylvania’s suspended drivers get their licenses back. If you have a license suspension, you should contact DeLuco Law for a free consolation and let us help get you driving again.
PENNSYLVANIA POINT SYSTEM
In Pennsylvania, the Department of Motor Vehicles (PennDot) maintains a driving record for every licensed driver. When a driver pleads or is found guilty of traffic violations, points can be added to their driving record. Points will then be removed at a rate of 3 points for every 12 consecutive months a person drives (from the date of the last violation) without a violation which results in points, license suspension or revocation. PennDot will begin to take corrective action when a driver accumulates 6 or more points.
Upon the first accumulation of 6 points, a driver will receive a written notice to take a special written point examination which will address: 1) safe driving practices; 2) departmental sanctions; and 3) related safety issues. The driver has 30 days to pass the points exam and, if passed in that time period, the driver will avoid a driver’s license suspension and have 2 points removed from his or her driving record.
When a Pennsylvania driver accumulates 6 points for the second time, he or she will have to attend a Departmental hearing. At this hearing, a hearing examiner will review the driver’s total record and, after the hearing, may impose a 15 day license suspension, require the driver to complete an on-road driver’s examination, or take no further action. If the driver is suspended or completes the on-road examination, 2 points will be removed from their driving record. If the driver fails to attend the hearing, his or her license will be suspended for 60 days.
If a driver accumulates 6 or more points for a third or greater time, the driver will again have to attend a Departmental hearing. On these occasions, the hearing examiner will, after reviewing the record, determine if a 30 day license suspension should be initiated. If the driver fails to attend a hearing for a third or greater accumulation of six points, their driver’s license will be suspended until the driver attends the hearing.
When any driving accumulates 11 or more points, their driver’s license will automatically be suspended. The length of suspension depends on how many times the license was suspended previously. Specifically, the length of suspension will be as follows:
- For a first suspension – 5 days per point;
- For a second suspension – 10 days per point;
- For a third suspension – 15 days per point; and
- For subsequent suspensions – one year point Removal for safe driving
A driver may also face sanctions if they are convicted of speeding 31 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit. In this case, the driver will automatically have to attend a Departmental hearing where the Department may impose a 15 day license suspension or require the driver to complete an on-road driver’s examination. If the driver is suspended for 15 days, his or her record will show 5 points upon restoration. If the driver completes the on-road examination, no point will be removed. If the driver fails to attend the hearing, his or her license will be suspended for 60 days.
Juvenile drivers under the age of 18 face stiffer penalties in addition to those mentioned above. A driver under the age of 18 will be suspended if he or she accumulates six or more points or is convicted of driving 26 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit. The first suspension will be for a period of 90 days and any subsequent occurrences will result in a 120 day suspension.
If you are charged with a traffic violation you may have the opportunity to get your charges lowered or dismissed so that you do not have to deal with the Pennsylvania Point System. DeLuco Law and help you fight your traffic ticket and get the best possible outcome in your case.