HOW DOES THE POINTS SYSTEM WORK IN PA?
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) generated a points system with the intention of improving driving habits while ensuring safe driving. In reality, the points system creates hardships for Pennsylvania drivers, as the accrual of points can lead to increased auto insurance rates, fines, license suspensions and revocations. Jail sentences apply for the most serious traffic offenses.
If you are stopped and issued a traffic ticket by local law enforcement or a PA State Trooper, you will likely accrue points on your driving record if you plead guilty, or are convicted after a summary trial.
PennDOT will begin to take action against you once you accrue 6 points on your license. At Zuckerman Law Firm, we have had numerous clients charged with multiple traffic violations on the same offense date. We recently and successfully defended a client facing a total of 7 points and a 90 day license suspension for one single traffic stop!
FIRST ACCRUAL OF 6 POINTS - DRIVING EXAM
Most drivers took their driving exam at age 18, thinking that they would never have to take another driving exam. If you accrue 6 points for the first time, you will have to take a special written points-based examination, which includes the following topics:
- Knowledge of Safe Driving Practices;
- Knowledge of PennDOT Sanctions; and
- Knowledge of Safety Issues.
If you complete and pass the exam within 30 days, you will maintain your driving privileges and 2 points will be removed from your record. However, if you fail the exam or fail to schedule your exam within 30 days, your license will be suspended indefinitely until you pass.
SECOND ACCRUAL OF 6 POINTS - DEPARTMENTAL HEARING WITH ADDITIONAL PENALTIES
If you accrue a running tally of 6 points for the 2nd time, you will have to attend a Departmental Hearing, where you will receive a written notice of the date, time and location. If you fail to show up to the hearing, you will lose your license for 60 days.
At this hearing, a hearing examiner will review your driving record, and recommend one or more of the following penalties:
- Take no action, which is very unlikely;
- Order imposition of a 15-day driver's license suspension, which will lead to the removal of 2 points;
- Order the driver to take an On-Road Driver's Examination, which will lead to the removal of 2 points upon successful completion.
THIRD ACCRUAL OF 6 POINTS - DEPARTMENTAL HEARING AND LIKELY 30-DAY LICENSE SUSPENSION
When your record is reduced below 6 points, and you accrue 6 points for the 3rd or subsequent time, you will have to attend a Departmental Hearing, where PennDOT will determine if a 30-day license suspension will be initiated. Your license will be suspended indefinitely if you fail to attend this hearing.
ACCRUAL OF 11 POINTS - AUTOMATIC SUSPENSION
If you accrue 11 or more points on your driving record, your license will be automatically suspended for the following time period:
- 5 Days for 1st Suspension
- 10 Days Per Point for 2nd Suspension
- 15 Days Per Point for 3rd Suspension
- 1-Year for 4th or Subsequent Suspension
HOW ARE POINTS REMOVED FROM MY RECORD?
From the date of your last violation (i.e. guilty plea or conviction date), 3 points will be removed from your record for every 12 consecutive months that you drive without a violation. Once your driving record is reduced to 0 points for 12 consecutive months, any additional accumulation of points will be treated as your first accrual of points.
As an example, lets say you were convicted of speeding for going 15-mph over the speed limit in January of 2015. Based on this conviction, 3 points were added to your driving record. In December of 2015, you are pulled over and cited for going 10 mph over the speed limit. After your summary trial was held in January of 2016, the magistrate convicted you of the 10mph speeding offense, which carries 2 points.
After this series of events, you will now have a total of 5 points on your license. In this scenario, you did not earn a dismissal of 3 points because you did not go 12 consecutive months without a points based offense. The 2 points from your December violation are now added to your record. As a result, you must start all over again.
HOW ZUCKERMAN LAW FIRM CAN HELP
Whether it's your first ticket or you are a repeat violator, DO NOT plead guilty to a points or suspension based offense. You should never assume that you will make it another 12 months without picking up another points based offense.
When fighting a ticket, you must remember that the officer who cited you is a trained, professional witness with many hours of experience testifying in courtrooms. Without a firm understanding of the rules of evidence and case law governing traffic prosecutions, along with prior experience cross examining police officers, you take a substantial risk when you represent yourself.
At Zuckerman Law Firm, our goal in each and every traffic case is simple: eliminate points and license suspensions while reducing fines. In fighting for the most favorable results, we prepare for your summary trial while working behind the scenes to negotiate the best possible resolution of your case. We can review your driving history, research case law, prepare cross-examination questions, and negotiate directly with the police officer on your behalf.
Get a professional on your side. Call Zuckerman Law Firm today at 412-447-5580.