For visiting non-Pennsylvanians, traffic can be hellish. It won't be long before you encounter confusing traffic signs, congested roadways, and an abnormally heavy police presence on the streets - a recipe for disaster among visitors. These conditions make it too easy for tourists who aren't accustomed to this kind of atmosphere to end up with a ticket.
Some people believe the common misconception that a traffic citation acquired outside of your home state won't do major damage to the state of your license. But this couldn't be further from the truth. Getting a traffic citation outside of your home state will affect you in a similar fashion as would a ticket issued in your home state.
If you are a non-local whose been issued a traffic citation in Pennsylvania, there are a few things you should know. One crucial point is that you need legal representation. Contrary to popular belief, traffic tickets can carry pretty harsh penalties that can jeopardize your driving privileges, empty your pockets, and inconvenience you in your everyday life. An attorney can help you resolve potential impending issues and ensure that your problems in Pennsylvania aren't dragged back home.
Driver License Compact
The reason why a ticket can follow you from state to state is because of an agreement known as the Driver License Compact (DLC). When a person accepts a driver's license in their state, they accept the conditions attached to it. Of these conditions is your state's involvement in this agreement. In compliance with the DLC, the majority of states in the nation, including Pennsylvania, exchange information regarding traffic convictions. It's essentially a uniform way to maintain accountability in participating states.
Since Pennsylvania is apart of the DLC, a violation will cause the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to notify your home state of the violation. This violation, whether it's added in the form of points or any other documented mark, will be added to your home state's driving record. Not only do major violations cross over under this agreement, serious penalties like a license suspension or revocation or the installation of an ignition interlock device may be imposed in your state for what you did in a state you visited. Details about your suspension and other repercussions will be accessible through a national database known as the National Driving Register.
Insurance companies will be notified regardless of whether you committed a violation in state or out-of-state. They are just as likely to apply surcharges that raise your insurance premium for an offense that you allegedly committed Pennsylvania as for a traffic offense that was issued in your neighborhood.
Exclusion of Minor Violations in Some States
The good news is that in some states, minor moving violations may not be transferred. Pennsylvania drivers who go out of state and get pulled over for speeding 6 to 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, for example, may be let off the hook. But not everybody's home state is as merciful. If you have questions about whether or not your home state is notified about minor traffic violations, you should consult with an attorney.
States Left Out of the Compact
Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Georgia, Tennessee, and Michigan are the only states that do not partake in the DLC. However, these non-member states still tend to suspend home state licenses one they receive notification of serious out-of-state crimes like a DUI.
How An Attorney Can Help
Many motorists rob themselves of a favorable outcome when they refuse to take advantage of their right to an attorney. Although traffic violations are perceived as minor crimes, they can lead to major consequences. Non-locals who have been ticketed in Pennsylvania will have to navigate in an unfamiliar and complex system. An attorney will be able to help you gain an understanding of how traffic violations are managed in this state, and possibly indicate where your rights were violated, and if your citation was lawful. If you are on the fence about retaining legal counsel, there is no harm in at least consulting with an attorney to evaluate your case, weigh your options, and find ways to make this whole situation easier.
Pennsylvania Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney
Being convicted of a traffic violation may subject out-of-state motorists to the dire financial, administrative and legal repercussions imposed in Pennsylvania. Even if you feel that a ticket is unconquerable, it is recommended that you contest it with the help of a legal professional. The assistance of an attorney is crucial, especially if you can be subjected to the loss of your driving privileges, the installation of an ignition interlock device, insurance rate increases, or a license suspension/revocation. If you're a commercial driver, the help of an attorney is even more crucial.
Joseph D. Lento is devoted to helping his clients successfully overcome traffic infractions and the serious consequences they carry. For more questions about his representation, or for a case evaluation, contact him today.