Driving a motor vehicle while your driver’s license is suspended or revoked in Pennsylvania is a criminal offense. It is considered a summary offense and carries a mandatory fine of $200 and a one (1) year license suspension. Driving while suspended is commonly referred to by lawyers as a “1543(a)” case. 1543(a) refers to the section of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code that penalizes driving on a suspended license.
In order for the government to convict you of a 1543(a) offense, it must prove the following elements: 1) you were driving your motor vehicle on a highway or trafficway in Pennsylvania; 2) your license has been suspended or revoked and not been restored; and 3) you had actual notice of the suspension. The actual notice requirement can present problems for the Commonwealth. Due to this requirement the government may not be able to prove its case against you. Although PennDOT mails your suspension notice by first class mail, evidence that PennDOT mailed the notice alone will not support a conviction for driving while suspended. The government must provide by additional evidence that you “actually knew” that your license was suspended. Since you have no obligation to get on the stand and testify this creates evidentiary problems for the prosecution.
If you are facing a criminal charge of driving your motor vehicle while your license is suspended, please contact my office at (610) 299-0295 to discuss your case. If you never had knew that your license was suspended or revoked, please contact my office, we may be able to win your case based on the government’s failure to prove “actual notice.”
Driving While Suspended – DUI Related
Driving under suspension – DUI related, is a summary motor vehicle offense in Pennsylvania that carries a mandatory jail sentence. You may be convicted if you were driving on a suspended license resulting from a DUI or placement into the ARD program from a DUI charge. Similar to a 1543(a) case, the government must prove that you had “actual notice” that your driver’s license was suspended. Driving while suspended – DUI related is commonly referred to in Pennsylvania as a “1543(b).” 1543(b) refers to the section of the motor vehicle code that penalizes driving under suspension – DUI related. Being charged with driving under a DUI suspension is a serious offense. You will need competent defense counsel to fight this charge and avoid jail time. A good defense lawyer may be able to plead your case down to the lesser charge of “1543(a)” driving while suspended to avoid incarceration. Please contact my office at (610) 299-0295 to discuss your case and determine whether you may beat your 1543(b) charge or have your case plead down to a lesser offense.
Driving Under a DUI Suspension – Penalties
Although, driving while suspended – DUI related is a summary offense and will be litigated at a Magisterial District Court, the penalties are stiff. For a first offense, you are facing a five hundred dollar ($500) fine and a mandatory jail sentence of 60-90 days. If you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .02% while driving on a DUI suspended license you may be fined one thousand dollars ($1000) and sentenced to a mandatory jail term of ninety (90) days. You will also be facing additional license suspension of one (1) to two (2) years. Additional violations will result in harsher penalties.
Contact my office at (610) 299-0295 to discuss ways to fight your driving while suspended – DUI related charge and avoid mandatory incarceration.