Most state drivers will acquire at least one traffic citation over the course of their lifetime for allegedly violating Pennsylvania traffic regulations. Upon the citing of a ticket, drivers routinely scoff at the financial and timely inconvenience a ticket bears and make preparations to alleviate the issue by biting the bullet and making a payment. However, society's expeditious response to citations can be adversely consequential.
Although a traffic violation is perceived as a minuscule offense by the vast majority of motorists, the acquisition of serious citation or one too many citations, has the potential to snowball into major legal issues consisting of severe ramifications. Due to traffic violations, motorists have experienced damaging repercussions, ranging from the payment of skyrocketing insurance premiums to a license suspension and license revocation. An unfavorable position for both the average driver and more so the commercial driver.
For commercial drivers who travel long distances, travel regionally, or even make deliveries in small towns, driving serves a more significant purpose than traveling from one place to another - it's their entire livelihood. The mismanagement of a traffic citation could jeopardize the career they worked so hard to maintain and build. This is where the help of a defense traffic attorney becomes useful.
If you have been accused of committing a traffic violation, it may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney. An experienced legal professional will be able to help you handle a ticket in a way that's best suitable for you. Your next step would be to become knowledgeable of the way the state of Pennsylvania enforces traffic violations. After all, a well-informed client is more inclined to make wise decisions.
Pennsylvania's Point System
Pennsylvania motorists adhere to a point system that is maintained and updated by the state's Department of Transportation, known as PENNDOT. It is designed to account for the driving records of licensed motorists in the state and to hold them accountable for their bad driving habits. Each time a motorist is found guilty of a traffic offense, a series of “points” are marked on an individual's driving record.
The specific amount of points added varies based on the severity of a traffic offense. Failing to stop at a stop sign, for example, will cost a driver a total of three points. While driving too fast for conditions is deemed a two-point offense. In the event that an individual accumulates at least six points, administrative corrective actions involving driving tests and classes, the implementation of an ignition interlock device, or a license suspension or revocation could potentially be imposed.
Moving and Nonmoving Violations
Motorists are typically cited with two types of violations: moving and nonmoving violations.
A moving violation is administered when a traffic law is violated while a vehicle is in motion. A few of the most commonly committed traffic crimes are moving violations. Some of which include speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and running a red light.
A nonmoving violation, conversely, occurs when a car is halted, or not in motion. Examples include parking in a no-parking zone, having an expired license place, and leaving a vehicle unattended while it is running.
Fighting Traffic Tickets in Pennsylvania
As mentioned above, many people tend to accept their fate when it comes to traffic citations. This widely developed lax attitude is rooted in misinformation. Some individuals believe that challenging a ticket is waste of valuable resources, or that it isn't sensible to fight back for a minor infraction. However, in certain cases, retaining a criminal defense attorney is necessary. Legal counsel is crucial in circumstances when the six-point park is almost reached, or a serious offense has been committed. Here are some traffic charges that are worth challenging:
- Failure to yield
- Failure to yield to pedestrian
- Improper backing up
- Driving too fast for the conditions
- A turning violation
- Exceeding special speed limit in school zone
- Failure to stop for a school bus
- Illegal U-turn
- Driving too slowly
- Following too closely
- Failure to stop at a stop sign
- Failure to stop at a red light
- Driving with a suspended license
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (a criminal charge with serious potential implications for one's driving privileges)
- Improper passing
- Reckless or careless driving
The most important aspect of determining your course of action is to deduce both the results of not pursuing legal counsel and your chances of winning if you make the decision to fight. If this is your first ticket ever in ten years of driving, you believe it won't happen again, and you are convinced that the citation is warranted based on your actions, paying the fine may be a logical decision. However, if this isn't your first citation within a short period of time, and the violation is relatively serious, retaining an attorney may be worth your while.
In regard to Philadelphians, the Municipal Court Traffic Division adjudicates violations of the state's vehicle code. This court does not, however, mitigate parking violations. In surrounding counties, like Bucks County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County, traffic tickets will be handled by the Magisterial District Courts.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
Acquiring a traffic violation may expose state motorists to damaging legal and financial repercussions. If you are contemplating going to court to challenge a ticket, you need an attorney who will fiercely advocate for you at every point of the legal process. With over 15 years of trial experience, Joseph D. Lento has protected the interests of regular motorists and commercial drivers alike with an aggressive defense, and he can do the same for you. For a consultation, contact him today at 215-535-5353.