Driving While Suspended
The most significant issue in the opinion of this office under the Motor Vehicle Code that most people face in this Commonwealth is driving while under suspension. This charge really has two separate and distinct areas [75 PaSCA 1543] The first one is just simply a driving under suspension which will get you a $200 fine and a one (1) year mandatory additional suspension. The more costly driving under suspension is driving under suspension while DUI related. That means if you are suspended for any reason related to DUI either as a result of the initial charge itself, as a result of failure to take the test, or that was the original reason for the suspension that you are now serving some other suspension for and you have not received your license back from the original DUI suspension, the sentencing in that situation is very, very severe. The sentences are mandatory minimums and the sentences for the first offense is ninety (90) days in jail, a $1,000 fine and an additional one (1) year license suspension. This license suspension is DUI related so if you are caught during this additional year for driving while suspended, it would be driving while suspended for DUI related offenses.
The failure to pay the ticket on time, or ask for a hearing, the driving while suspended or the driving while suspended with DUI are significant issues. Again if you fail to take the appropriate steps in this Commonwealth, you will have been deemed to agree to what has been set forth above, namely that you agree that you were found guilty because you failed to do whatever it was that you were allowed to do and then the points may be added on, the suspension may occur and it is of no concern to PaDot whether you ever received notice of this because all they are required by statute to do is serve you at your last known address which is the address where you last renewed your driver’s license.
In today’s society the loss of a driver’s license for a significant amount of time can cause a major alteration in the lives and families of individuals. To simply walk up to a District Justice and say I am guilty and pay the fine may seem on its face to be the most appropriate way and may well be the most appropriate resolution of the matter. However before you do that you should seriously consider obtaining the services of this office or some other legal representation to determine what that guilty plea will do for you. After you have admitted it and received the notice from PaDot you are not able to say at that point, if I had known I would not have pled guilty. Once you have pled guilty you are pretty much in the situation where you will have little or no means to avail yourself, to protect yourself, to maintain your driving privileges or even to clean your driving record.