If you are from Chester County and have been accused of driving while on a suspended or revoked license, it's important you understand your state and county's laws that apply to this offense. It will also give you some leverage to understand the options you can utilize to make a suspension less miserable and inconvenient.
Driving While Suspended in Chester County
Pennsylvania statutory law 1543(a) provides the following:
“Except as provided in subjection (b), any person who drives a motor vehicle on any highway of trafficway of this Commonwealth after the commencement of a suspension, revocation or cancellation of the operating privilege and before the operating privilege has been restored is guilty of a summary offense…”
In simpler terms, Chester County drivers are not permitted to drive at all once their license suspension or revocation period has initiated. This law applies driving privileges that are stripped for several reasons, including certain traffic violations, criminal convictions, and other matters. However, it specifically excludes suspensions mandated as a result of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is because the legal ramifications for driving as a result of DUI-related suspension carry much harsher penalties.
Elements of Driving While Suspended
In order for a motorist to be convicted of this crime, a prosecutor must present clear and convincing evidence of several elements. All of the following elements constitute driving while suspended:
- You were driving your motor vehicle on a highway or trafficway in Pennsylvania
- Your license has been suspended or revoked and has not yet been restored
- You had actual notice of the suspension
While the first two elements are relatively easy to prove, the last element has been a huge evidentiary issue for prosecutors. PennDOT typically mails a suspension by first class mail, but proof of the mailed notice alone isn't enough to sufficiently support a conviction for driving while suspended. Therefore, a prosecutor has an obligation to provide additional evidence that proves that a motorist actually knew their license was suspended and decided to drive on Pennsylvania roadways in spite of this fact. Since defendants aren't required to testify in these cases, proving this element is difficult.
Individuals who will be subjected to a mandatory license suspension or revocation have options presented by the county and state to make this period more reasonable. Obtaining an occupational license is a popular alternative for people in this situation. An occupational license allows motorists to drive to and from work during a suspension or revocation period. But beware, if granted, drivers will still have to endure 60 days of their original suspension. Access to an occupational license is maximized with the help of a seasoned attorney. Contact my firm for more information about your eligibility.
Chester County Criminal Defense Attorney
The penalties for driving while suspended range from incredibly costly fines to a potential discretionary sentence. If you have been arrested for this offense in Chester County, you should immediately contact a skilled defense attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has years of experience helping people in this debacle get their charges reduced to forgo a jail sentence, lessen their fines, and shorten any extended license suspensions and revocations. He has the skills and expertise to do the same for you. For a case evaluation, contact him today.