If you are from Delaware County and have been accused of driving while on a suspended or revoked license, it's important you understand state and county's laws that apply to this offense. Being aware of the options drivers have to make a suspension less miserable will also help drivers avoid that temptation of breaking the law further when it comes to long suspension and revocation periods.
Driving While Suspended in Delaware County
Pennsylvania statute 1543(a) states 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 other words, Delaware County motorists are outright prohibited to drive on Pennsylvania roadways and highways once a license suspension period or revocation period begins. This law is applicable to driving privileges that have been stripped from persons for multiple reasons, including various traffic violations, criminal convictions, and other matters. This law, however, notedly excludes suspensions mandated as a result of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The subsequent law, 1543(b), references DUI-related suspensions because they carry much harsher penalties.
Elements of Driving While Suspended
In order for a motorist to be convicted of this offense, a prosecutor must successfully establish clear and convincing evidence of several elements. These elements include:
- 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
The first two elements are relatively easy to prove. The last element has proven to be a massive evidentiary problem for prosecutors. PennDot typically mails a suspension by first class mail, so there exists proof that a notice has been sent out to a motorist. However, evidence of a mailed notice alone isn't enough to sufficiently back a conviction for driving while suspended. Due to this fact, a prosecutor has an obligation to provide additional evidence that proves a motorist actually knew their license was suspended. Since defendants aren't required to testify in these cases, garnering evidence to prove this element is difficult.
Individuals who will be forced to face a mandatory license suspension or revocation have options provided by the county and state to make these periods more reasonable. Among the most popular options is the attainment of an occupational license. This restrictive license allows motorists to drive to and from work during a suspension or revocation period. Even when granted this license, drivers will still have to endure 60 days of the initial suspension. Access to an occupational license is maximized with the help of an attorney. Contact my firm today for information about your eligibility.
Delaware County Criminal Defense Attorney
The penalties for driving while suspended can be dire, ranging from costly fines to a discretionary jail sentence. Avoiding these penalties requires the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Legal professional Joseph D. lento has extensive experience helping clients in this predicament get their charges reduce to forgo a jail sentence, lessen their fines, and shorten any extended license suspension and revocation periods. He has the skills and expertise to do the same for you. For a case evaluation, contact him today.