Obtaining a license is one of the most pivotal moments of a juvenile's life. A legal allowance to drive a vehicle to and fro from school, from an employment establishment, from a sports practice, and other places provides teens with the sense of freedom they crave. However, with being a registered driver on Pennsylvania roadways comes vital responsibility. Some of which many minors may not be ready for.
Teens lead the nation in vehicle collisions, which justifies the incredibly high insurance premiums and the plethora of safe driving campaigns aimed at their age group. Due to their curiosity, their proneness to distraction, and the increased likelihood of them minimizing or not recognizing hazardous driving conditions, teens are more likely to get a traffic violation than any other demographic.
Traffic violations are criminal acts that violate Pennsylvania's driving regulations. Fortunately, the majority of these violations are minor infractions that won't lead to harsh consequences. But acquiring one too many tickets in a short duration of time, or committing a serious traffic offense, like driving under the influence, could quickly stiffen those penalties.
If you or your child has been accused of committing a traffic violation, your first and immediate step should be to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney. Any legal professional will be able to provide you with legal options that deter the likelihood of a license suspension or revocation. Finally, you should make an effort to gain a comprehensive understanding of Pennsylvania's traffic system. Being familiar with the system you're up against will help you make a well-informed decision to protect your driver's license.
Pennsylvania Traffic Violations
Pennsylvania Traffic laws reference all aspects of driving a vehicle. There are rules that cover actions taken prior to getting behind the wheel, such as obtaining an authorized driver's license and getting the required amount of insurance to cover a vehicle. Some laws cover actions commencing during the act of driving, like stopping at stop signs and driving recklessly. Other regulations cover what motorists are expected to do after operating a vehicle, like waiting for law enforcement after an accident. The following traffic offenses are commonly committed by motorists in the state of Pennsylvania:
- Reckless driving
- Registration required
- Driving under the influence
- Failure to stop at a red light
- Improper turning around
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Following too closely
- Speeding or exceeding maximum speed
- Failure to yield
- Failure to stop at a stop sign
- Failure to obey policeman or authorized person etc.
The State Point System
Pennsylvania drivers adhere to a point system that is designed to hold them accountable for their driving habits. This system is maintained and updated by the state's Department of Transportation (PENNDOT). Once a driver of any age is found guilty of committing a traffic offense a series of “points” will be marked on his or her driving record. Paying a citation is legally considered an admission of guilt.
Each traffic violation is assigned a specific number of points, some of which are more points than others. For example, the failure to stop at a red light is 3 points. Once a driver accrues a total of six points, corrective action will be taken against a motorist. This means that the failure to stop at a red light paired with other common traffic infractions could quickly rack up to six points, leading to the imposition of legal repercussions.
In the majority of criminal juvenile criminal cases, minors experience significant advantages. Although juvenile and adult crime, in essence, is constituted the same, the management of these offenses is dissimilar. The goal of the juvenile criminal system is to rehabilitate minors from bad behaviors rather than punishing them through subjection to confinement. With this in mind, minors are offered a consideration of leniency when in violation, allowing juvenile courts to impose a diversified set of penalties.
But when it comes to traffic violations, minors experience their share of disadvantages. Due to the state's low tolerance for perceivably reckless teen drivers, minors are at a greater risk for license suspension. Several aspects of the system remain the same for all drivers, like the option to plead guilty or not guilty for a traffic violation. However, once adults accumulate a total of six points, they are provided with a span of penalty options, like taking written and on-road exams, prior to the issuing of a license suspension. Juveniles who reach six points, on the other hand, will have no choice but to endure a mandatory license suspension for at least 90 days.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
For juveniles, a guilty traffic offense verdict can quickly lead to the suspension of their license. These offenses can compromise their driving privileges, and even their freedom if tickets aren't handled properly. With over 15 years of experience, skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped teen motorists protect their license by advocating for them in court. He can do the same for you. Contact him today at 215-535-5353 for a consultation.