When an individual obtains a driver’s license in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania they agree to comply with all the regulations and conditions set forth by the Commonwealth to operate a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Department of Transportation in this Commonwealth is given the obligation to monitor and regulate these matters. It is the Department of Transportation commonly referred to "PaDot" that issues the suspensions in all cases. Suspensions in this Commonwealth may be either for a specific term or they are referred to an indefinite suspension.
Term or definite suspensions usually occur as a result of some sort of conviction of some type of motor vehicle violation or other crime which somehow is tied to a motor vehicle violation/suspension in this Commonwealth. The suspensions will be an acknowledged period of time, a certain number of days, and the notice will be sent from PaDot to the last known address, the address used the last time you renewed your driver’s license. That is the only notice PaDot is required to send, it does not need to be sent certified mail; if you have moved the burden is on you to change the address; the failure to receive the notice for suspension is not a defense if you are caught for driving while suspended. All definite or term suspensions will run consecutively, that means one after another; so if you have ten days for one violation and twenty days for another you will have a thirty day suspension. There will be no reinstatement of your license and then a re-suspension. In order for any suspension to begin, you must surrender your driver’s license to PaDot, the State Police, or provide PaDot with an affidavit as to why you are unable to surrender your license. Being caught driving while suspended is yet another offense.
When you receive the notice from PaDot, on the notice you will receive an acknowledgment of a right to appeal within thirty days from the date of the notice not from the date you received it but from the date the notice was prepared. If you fail to or refuse to comply with that time frame, generally speaking your right to appeal will be denied.
The second type of suspensions are "indefinite", meaning they have no end but for the individual driver to do or commit an act so the suspension will be ended. Indefinite suspensions are generally the result of a judgment from a motor vehicle accident where the individual was not insured, failure to respond to paying tickets either in this State or any other State, failure to pay fines and costs as ordered, failure to attend Departmental hearing or take a Departmental test. The license gets renewed when the outstanding issue has been resolved. If it is to pay outstanding tickets, once the tickets have been paid, notice can be given to PaDot and the license can then be reinstated. If it is a result of a judgment against a driver involved in a motor vehicle accident, somehow the judgment must be resolved or have that individual sign off the judgment or PaDot will never reinstate your driving privileges. If it is for failure to pay costs or fines, again once the payment is made the license can be reinstated. If it is failure to attend a hearing or perform a test by PaDot, once those issues have been resolved PaDot will remove the indefinite suspension when they receive notice. Please be advised if you pay a ticket you have admitted guilt to that ticket. The payment of that ticket may further jeopardize your driving privileges in the Commonwealth. If you have already acceded the allowable number of points and you pay a ticket that gets you additional points, those additional points may lead to an additional suspension. That is not an addition suspension as a result of the indefinite suspension, that would be a suspension as a result of points accumulated as a result of motor vehicle violations.
Below are a number of the points involved in motor vehicle violations in this Commonwealth, and not all of them have been put forth here but may be found in the appropriate Section in Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Code.
§ 1532 Suspension of operating privilege
(a) One-year suspension. The department shall suspend the operating privilege of any driver for one year upon receiving a certified record of the driver's conviction of or an adjudication of delinquency based on any of the following offenses:
(1) Any felony in the commission of which a court determines that a vehicle was essentially involved.
(2) Any violation of section 3735 (relating to homicide by vehicle while driving under influence).
(3) Any violation of the following provisions:
Section 3732 (relating to homicide by vehicle).
Section 3735.1 (relating to aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence).
Section 3742 (relating to accidents involving death or personal injury).
Section 3742.1 (relating to accidents involving death or personal injury while not properly licensed).
Section 7102(b) (relating to removal or falsification of identification number).
Section 7103(b) (relating to dealing in vehicles with removed or falsified numbers).
Section 7111 (relating to dealing in titles and plates for stolen vehicles).
Section 7121 (relating to false application for certificate of title or registration).
Section 7122 (relating to altered, forged or counterfeit documents and plates).
(1) The department shall suspend the operating privilege of any driver for six months upon receiving a certified record of the driver's conviction of or an adjudication of delinquency based on any offense under the following provisions:
Section 3367 (relating to racing on highways).
Section 3734 (relating to driving without lights to avoid identification or arrest).
Section 3736 (relating to reckless driving).
Section 3743 (relating to accidents involving damage to attended vehicle or property).
(2) The department shall suspend the operating privilege of any driver for six months upon receiving a certified record of the driver's conviction of a subsequent offense under section 1501(a) (relating to drivers required to be licensed) if the prior offense occurred within five years of the violation date of the subsequent offense.
(3) The department shall suspend the operating privilege of any driver for 12 months upon receiving a certified record of the driver's conviction of section 3731
(relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) or 3733 (relating to fleeing or attempting to elude police officer), or substantially similar offenses reported to the
department under Article III of section 1581 (relating to Driver's License Compact), or an adjudication of delinquency based on section 3731 or 3733. The department shall suspend the operating
privilege of any driver for six months upon receiving a certified record of a consent decree granted under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile matters) based on section 3731 or 3733.
(4) The department shall suspend the operating privilege of any driver for three months upon receiving a certified record of the driver's conviction of section 1371 (relating to operation following suspension of registration) or an adjudication of delinquency based on section 1371.
(c) Suspension. The department shall suspend the operating privilege of any person upon receiving a certified record of the person's conviction of any offense involving the possession, sale, delivery, offering for sale, holding for sale or giving away of any controlled substance under the laws of the United States, this Commonwealth or any other state, or any person 21 years of age or younger upon receiving a certified record of the person's conviction or adjudication of delinquency under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2706 (relating to terroristic threats) committed on any school property, including any public school grounds, during any school-sponsored activity or on any conveyance providing transportation to a school entity or school-sponsored activity.
(1) The period of suspension shall be as follows:
(i) For a first offense, a period of six months from the date of the suspension.
(ii) For a second offense, a period of one year from the date of the suspension.
(iii) For a third and any subsequent offense thereafter, a period of two years from the date of the suspension.
(2) For the purposes of this subsection, the term "conviction" shall include any conviction or adjudication of delinquency for any of the offenses listed in paragraph (1), whether in this Commonwealth or any other Federal or state court.
(d) Additional suspension. The department shall suspend the operating privilege of any person upon receiving a certified record of the driver's conviction, adjudication of delinquency or admission into a preadjudication program for a violation under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6307 (relating to misrepresentation of age to secure liquor or malt or brewed beverages), 6308 (relating to purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages) or 6310.3 (relating to carrying a false identification card). The duration of the suspension shall be as follows:
(1) For a first offense, the department shall impose a suspension for a period of 90 days.
(2) For a second offense, the department shall impose a suspension for a period of one year.
(3) For a third and subsequent offense, the department shall impose a suspension for a period of two years. Any multiple suspensions imposed shall be served consecutively. Courts may certify the conviction, adjudication of delinquency or admission into the preadjudication program on the same form used to submit the order of suspension required under the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6310.4 (relating to restriction of operating privileges). Wherever practicable, the suspension imposed under this section shall be made concurrent with the suspension imposed under the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6310.4. All offenses committed on or after May 23, 1988, shall be included in considering whether an offense is a first, second, third or subsequent offense.