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I Got Arrested for Driving with A Suspended License. Now What?

Throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania individuals are pulled over everyday for driving on a suspended license. While this offense may, on its face, appear to be a minor incident, it can lead to serious penalties including jail time. If you are charged with driving with a suspended license, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows the different types of this offense.

(a) Offense defined:- Except as provided in subsection (b), any person who drives a motor vehicle on any highway or 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 and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $200.

(b) Certain offenses:-

(1) A person who drives a motor vehicle on a highway or trafficway of this Commonwealth at a time when the person’s operating privilege is suspended or revoked as a condition of acceptance of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition for a violation of section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) or the former section 3731, because of a violation of section 1547(b)(1) (relating to suspension for refusal) or 3802 or former section 3731 or is suspended under section 1581 (relating to Driver’s License Compact) for an offense substantially similar to a violation of section 3802 or former section 3731 shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be sentenced to pay a fine of $500 and to undergo imprisonment for a period of not less than 60 days nor more than 90 days.

(1.1) (i) A person who has an amount of alcohol by weight in his blood that is equal to or greater than .02% at the time of testing or who at the time of testing has in his blood any amount of a Schedule I or nonprescribed Schedule II or III controlled substance, as defined in the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, or its metabolite and who drives a motor vehicle on any highway or trafficway of this Commonwealth at a time when the person’s operating privilege is suspended or revoked as a condition of acceptance of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition for a violation of section 3802 or former section 3731 or because of a violation of section 1547(b)(1) or 3802 or former section 3731 or is suspended under section 1581 for an offense substantially similar to a violation of section 3802 or former section 3731 shall, upon a first conviction, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be sentenced to pay a fine of $1,000 and to undergo imprisonment for a period of not less than 90 days.

(ii) A second violation of this paragraph shall constitute a misdemeanor of the third degree, and upon conviction thereof the person shall be sentenced to pay a fine of $2,500 and to undergo imprisonment for not less than six months.

(iii) A third or subsequent violation of this paragraph shall constitute a misdemeanor of the first degree, and upon conviction thereof the person shall be sentenced to pay a fine of $5,000 and to undergo imprisonment for not less than two years.

Is There Anyway I Can Fight or Have These Charges Lessened?

The Short answer is Yes. In many cases our criminal defense attorneys has been successful in getting these charges dismissed or amended to a lesser offense.

Possible defenses to driving while suspended include:

Lack of notice- Penndot never sent the individual the paperwork indicating that their license was suspended

The license should never have been suspended to begin with- this situation may occur to a prior sentencing error or to an administrative on Penndot's behalf.

Emergency Situations- In some circumstances an individual who is driving with a suspended license may have his/her charges dismissed if they can show the court that they only drove the vehicle because of an emergency (taking a loved one to the hospital, leaving a dangerous situation etc.)

Amending to a Lesser Offense- This generally comes into play when an individual is charged with driving while suspended for a DUI. In this situation, our criminal defense attorneys have been able to get the charge dropped from a 1543B to a 1543A which, as indicated above carries no jail time. Factors that supported amending the charge to a lesser offense include:

  • The individual's prior criminal record

  • Their employment

  • The nature of the offense

  • When their DUI occurred (The longer the DUI has passed the better)

  • Compliance with the officer during the stop.

I Received a Letter in The Mail Stating I Have a Hearing for This Offense... What Should I Do?

It is important that if you are charged with a driving with a suspended license, you contact an attorney immediately. Our criminal defense attorneys have represented countless individuals throughout Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, and Philadelphia County with excellent results. Contact us today and we would be happy to advise you on your particular case.