Driving Under Suspension in Northampton & Lehigh County Requires the Best Traffic Defense Attorneys to avoid mandatory prison sentences.
Our Driving Under Suspension Attorneys have helped countless drivers avoid additional suspensions and prison sentences. Traffic Attorneys in our Easton Law Office have even helped many individuals restore their licenses before their traffic court hearings.
1543(a) & 1543(b), Driving Under Suspension Tickets, all carry an additional license suspension of at least one year and many also require a mandatory prison sentence of at least 30 days and as high as two years in some rare circumstances. If you, or a loved one, is charged with Driving Under Suspension in the Lehigh Valley, you need to call an attorney immediately.
The Driving Under Suspension Attorneys in our Easton Traffic Defense Office are here to help. Call now or continue reading below for additional information.
1543(a) – First Offense
A First Offense 1543a carries a $200 fine and an additional one (1) year license suspension but does not subject a driver to jail or prison.
1543(a) – Second through Fifth Offenses
Carries a $200-$1000 fine and one (1) year of additional license suspension. It does not have a mandatory prison sentence but a judge can sentence a driver to up to 6 months in prison. It is common for judges to issue 30 day jail sentences on 1543a convictions.
1543(a) – Sixth and Subsequent Offenses
Carries a $1000 fine and one (1) year of additional license suspension. There is a mandatory prison sentence of 30 days but a judge can sentence a driver to up to 6 months in prison on the 1543a.
1543(b) – First Offense
A First Offense 1543b carries a $500 fine, an additional one (1) year license suspension and a mandatory 60 day prison sentence.
1543(b) – Second Offense
A second offense 1543b carries a $1000 fine, (1) year of additional license suspension and a mandatory 90 day prison sentence.
1543(b) – Third and Subsequent Offenses
Third offense 1543b carries a $2,500 fine, one (1) year of additional license suspension and a mandatory prison sentence of 6 months.
1543(b)(1.1) – First Offense
A First Offense 1543(b) carries a $1000 fine, an additional one (1) year license suspension and a mandatory 90 day prison sentence.
1543(b)(1.1) – Second Offense
Carries a $2,500 fine, (1) year of additional license suspension and a mandatory prison sentence of six (6) months.
1543(b)(1.1) – Third and Subsequent Offenses
Carries a $5,000 fine, one (1) year of additional license suspension and a mandatory prison sentence of two (2) years.
Driving Under Suspension Tickets carry harsh consequences, including additional suspensions and mandatory sentences, but our Traffic Lawyers can help if you have a DUS ticket in Easton, Allentown or Bethlehem.
First the Commonwealth has to prove actual notice of suspension. The crime is not merely Driving Under Suspension but actually Knowingly Driving Under Suspension. While the Commonwealth is afforded some leeway in proving knowledge through circumstantial evidence, our Traffic Lawyers have successfully defended against driving under suspensions tickets due to the Commonwealth’s failure to prove this element of the crime.
Additionally, PennDOT regularly make mistakes. Such mistake have also allowed us to have 1543, Driving Under Suspension Charges dismissed.
Finally, even if we cannot have the charges outright dismissed, we are very often successful in having the charges downgraded to avoid both additional license suspensions and jail sentences.
If you, or a loved one, is currently facing Driving While Suspended Charges, don’t hesitate, call us now.
If you are in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton or the surrounding area and have been cited for a serious traffic violation, it is important that you figure out how to navigate the court system quickly. Our traffic lawyers handle all varieties of tickets. Most traffic tickets are considered summary offenses. Once you pay the fine, you have admitted guilt. There are likely potential defenses against the violation, and your ticket and the circumstances surrounding it should be reviewed immediately by a local motor vehicles violations attorney. Our Traffic Citation Attorneys are committed to seeking the best possible outcome in your traffic violation case.
The vast majority of traffic tickets are Summary Offenses and will initially be disposed of by the Magisterial District Court.
If charged with a summary, the police officer will typically write you a citation without arresting you, this is what occurs in the majority of traffic stops. In other cases, an ordinary citizen may file summary offense charges against you through the private criminal complaint process. You have 10 days to plead not guilty to the charge. Be sure to follow the instructions on the back of the citation. When pleading not guilty, you will be required to post what is called collateral. The court requires you to pay a portion of your citation in advance. If you are found not guilty at the court hearing, your money will be refunded to you.
When you are charged with a criminal or traffic summary offense, your local Magisterial District Judge will have jurisdiction over the case. Magisterial District Court is more informal than the Court of Common Pleas. District judges are not required to be lawyers but many are. On the day of your case, your attorney should speak with the police officer or other party before the hearing and request that he or she dismiss the charge, allow you to plead to a lesser charge or reduce the fine. If the police officer or opposing party is not receptive to this, it may be in your best interests to take your summary case to a trial. A typical summary trial lasts under an hour. The prosecuting party and any witnesses that he or she wishes to call will take the witness stand first. Your attorney will be given the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses. Once the Commonwealth finishes its case-in-chief, you and any of your witnesses will take the witness stand. You and your witnesses will also be subject to cross-examination by the police officer. At that point, both sides will be given the opportunity to make closing arguments before the district judge. You will deliver your closing argument first and the prosecuting side will deliver their argument last. Once closing arguments have concluded, the judge will render a decision.
If you retain the best trial attorney in a summary case, you have the advantage from the start. In the majority of cases, a police officer will be prosecuting the case. Very rarely will an Assistant District Attorney show up to prosecute your case in District Court. Police officers are not attorneys and have limited training in the rules of evidence and technicalities of the law.
If you are found guilty of a summary offense to District Court, you have 30 days to appeal your case to the Court of Common Pleas. Even if you plead guilty to the summary offense before consulting an attorney, you still have a right to appeal your case to the Court of Common Pleas but the deadline for this appeal may be shorter than the 30 day deadline if you’re found guilty at trial.
Common Pleas judges are required to be licensed attorneys. Typically, an Assistant District Attorney will also be in court to assist the police in prosecuting summary appeal matters. In the Court of Common Pleas you have the right to a trial de novo. This means that you get a new trial and get to start all over again. You will be able to go through the entire process that occurred at District Court. The same rules of evidence and procedure apply. The Assistant District Attorney has the ability to offer you a plea bargain on your summary appeal trial date.
At a summary appeal you will often find yourself before a more impartial and more highly trained judge, but you will also be up against a more highly trained prosecutor.
You should contact an Traffic Ticket Defense & Driver License Attorney immediately. In most cases, when PennDOT notifies you that your license may be suspended you must file two (2) appeals. You must file a civil appeal against PennDOT but you must also file a “criminal” appeal challenging the underlying ticket as well. Unfortunately most pro se litigants to not file the second, summary appeal, which inevitably leads to their PennDOT appeal being dismissed and their license loss.
PennDOT maintains a driving record for every licensed driver in Pennsylvania. Points are added to a driving record when a driver is found guilty of certain driving (moving) violations. The purpose of the point system is to help to improve driving habits and to ensure safe driving. PennDOT begins to take corrective action when a driving record reaches 6 or more points. The following sections explain what happens when a driving record reaches 6 or more points:
Under the Age of 18 in Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe or Northampton County
The driving privilege of a person under the age of 18 will be suspended if that person accumulates six (6) or more points or is convicted of driving 26 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit. The first suspension will be for a period of 90 days. Any additional occurrences will result in a suspension of 120 days. This suspension is in addition to the requirements of the point system found below.
First Accumulation of 6 Points in Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe or Northampton County
When any driving record reaches 6 or more points for the first time, the driver will receive a written notice to take a special written point examination. The examination will address:
1. Knowledge of Safe Driving Practices,
2. Knowledge of Departmental Sanctions, and
3. Knowledge of Related Safety Issues.
The driver has 30 days to successfully pass the exam or else the license will be suspended until the exam is passed. If the exam is passed within the 30 day period, 2 points will be removed from the driving record.
Second Accumulation of 6 Points in Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe or Northampton County
When any driving record is reduced below 6 points and then for a second time reaches 6 or more points, the driver will have to attend a Departmental Hearing. The driver will receive a written notice of the specific time and location of the required hearing. At the hearing, a hearing examiner will review the driver’s record. After the hearing, the Department may recommend one or more:
1. Order a 15 Day License Suspension,
2. Order the Driver to Take a Special On-Road Driver’s Examination, or
3. Take No Action.
If a person’s driving privilege is suspended or a special driver’s exam is recommended, 2 points will be removed from the driving record if the driver passes the exam within 30 days or 2 points will be removed once the 15 day suspension has been served. No points are removed from the driving record if the Department does not initiate a sanction.
Failure to attend this Departmental Hearing will result in a 60 day license suspension.
Third or More Accumulation of 6 Points in Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe or Northampton County
When any driving record is reduced below 6 points and for the third or subsequent time reaches 6 or more points, the driver will have to attend a Departmental hearing. The hearing examiner will review the driving record. The Department will then determine if a 30 day license suspension will be initiated.
Failure to attend this Departmental hearing will result in the suspension of the driver’s license until the driver attends the hearing.
Excessive Speeding in Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe or Northampton County
When a driver is convicted for speeding 31 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit, the driver will have to attend a Departmental Hearing. The driver will receive a written notice of the specific time and location of the required hearing. The hearing examiner will review the driving record. Upon the Department’s review of the hearing file, one or both of the following will be initiated:
1. 15 Day License Suspension
2. Special On-Road Driver’s Examination
If a 15 day suspension is initiated, the driving record will show 5 points upon restoration. No points are removed if a special driver’s examination is initiated and completed.
Failure to attend this Departmental Hearing will result in a 60 day license suspension.
Accumulation of 11 Points or More
When any driving record reaches 11 or more points, the driver’s license will automatically be suspended. The length of suspension depends on how many times the license was suspended in the past. The suspension schedule is as follows:
1. First Suspension – 5 days per point
2. Second Suspension – 10 days per point
3. Third Suspension – 15 days per point
4. Subsequent Suspensions – One year
Point Removal for Safe Driving
Three (3) points are removed from a driving record for every 12 consecutive months a person drives (from the date of the last violation) without a violation which results in points, license suspension or revocation. Once a driving record is reduced to zero and remains at zero points for 12 consecutive months, any further accumulation of points is treated as the first accumulation of points.
License Suspension and Restoration
If a person’s driving privilege is to be suspended, a written notice will be mailed to the driver listing the date when the suspension will begin. The driver may appeal the suspension to his or her county’s Court of Common Pleas. The appeal must be made WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER the mailing date of the notice. The most recent product (ie, license, permit(s) and/or camera card) must be returned to the Bureau of Driver Licensing by the effective date of suspension listed on the notice or the State Police, local police or other authorities that have been delegated by the Department will be notified to pick up the license. In addition to serving the suspension or revocation, the appropriate restoration fee must be paid before the license will be returned. After the driving privilege is restored, the driving record will show 5 points, regardless of the number of points which appeared on the record before the license was suspended (except in the case of a 15 day suspension resulting from a hearing for the second accumulation of 6 points).
Yes, Unfortunately. And, in some case it is a very likely possibility. Driving under Suspension tickets, 1543(a) and 1543(b), both have mandatory jail sentences. If you have received one of these tickets, contact our Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyers immediately!