Driving is such an essential part of American life today that many think it is actually a right. However, driving is a privilege that can be suspended as a penalty for committing certain crimes. If you then violate this suspension of your driving privilege, you face even harsher penalties including additional suspension time, prison and hefty fines. If you have been charged with driving while your operating privilege is suspended, it is imperative to hire an experienced Philadelphia traffic defense lawyer to fight against these additional penalties.
Philadelphia Driving While License Suspended Attorney
Joseph Lento has years of experience in the Pennsylvania justice system, and founded Lento Law Firm on the principles of dedication, hard work, perseverance and customer service. While fighting for you to keep your driving privilege from being further penalized, Joseph Lento will employ these qualities as well as his behind-the-scenes experience, resulting in a strong, customized defense strategy.
To find out what Lento Law Firm can do for your Philadelphia driving while operating privilege is suspended case, call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule your free consultation.
Driving With Suspended License Information Center
- Reasons a License is Suspended in Pennsylvania
- Driving While License is Suspended under Pennsylvania Law
- Philadelphia Penalties for Driving While Operating Privilege is Suspended
Since the license to drive is a privilege in Pennsylvania, the state often uses the suspension of that license as a penalty to the person or as a means to help protect other drivers on the road. There are many reasons that you may have your driver's license suspended. The most common reasons include:
- Privileges were suspended or revoked in another state that is a member of the Driver's License Compact
- Too many points accumulated in the Pennsylvania driving points system
- Refusal to submit to blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) testing
- DUI conviction
- Operating a vehicle without your required ignition interlock device
- DUI aggravated assault conviction
- DUI homicide conviction
- Stolen vehicle titles and plates dealing conviction
- Homicide by vehicle conviction
- Fake ID possession conviction
- Drug possession in presence of a minor conviction
- Drug possession near school grounds conviction
- Highway racing conviction
- Careless or reckless driving conviction
In order for an individual to be convicted of driving while operating privilege is suspended, specific elements of the incident must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements are defined in 25 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 1543 and include:
- Individual was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle or
- Individual was operating a motor vehicle and
- Motor vehicle was on Pennsylvania roads and
- Individual had driver's license suspended, revoked or cancelled and
- Incident occurred before the driving privilege had been restored
Note that the person does not have to be driving the car to violate the terms of his or her suspension, but that only actual physical control is required. Actual physical control is when a person is in or near the vehicle and had the ability to operate it. For instance, sitting in the driver's seat in possession of the ignition key would be considered actual physical control. If you are caught operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while your license is suspended, revoked, or cancelled you could be facing severe penalties that may include jail time and fines.
The penalties for driving while your driver's license suspended are generally separable into two categories. These categories have to do with DUI and non-DUI offenses, are defined in 5 Pa. Cons. Stat. §1543 and are referred to as 1543a (non-DUI) and 1543b (DUI) offenses, respective to what section their definition is found in. Generally, a 1543a violation is a summary offense and requires a $200 fine.
A 1543b DUI offense is more involved. If the suspension was imposed due to the following, then the individual will face 60 – 90 days of jail time and up to a $500 fine:
- Condition of DUI Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program
- Refusal to submit to chemical testing of alcohol levels
- Driver's License Compact
If the suspension occurred due to a condition of his or her ARD DUI program, refusal to submit to alcohol testing or Driver's License Compact and the driver's BAC when caught was over .02% or they had any Schedule I or II non-prescribed substances in the blood, it is a summary offense punishable by not less than 90 days of prison and up to $1,000 fine for a first offense. Subsequent offenses come with heftier penalties. Additional driver's license suspension time may also be imposed.
Finding the Best Driving While Suspended Attorney in Philadelphia
If you are facing additional penalties to your current driver's license suspension due to allegations of driving during the suspension period, don't just accept the inconvenience and move on. There may be mitigating factors in your case that could reduce or dismiss the charges against you. Contact Joseph Lento of Lento Law Firm to find these mitigating factors and fight your driving while license was suspended case. Your first consultation is free, so call (215) 535-5353 today.