If you have been greeted by flashing lights on your rearview mirrors while driving around Pennsylvania, you know you will be probably be handling an expensive ticket and the hassle of having points added to your driving record. At this point, your options are to accept paying the ticket and getting the points on your record (which many drivers choose to do) or to contest your ticket in court and hope that it gets dismissed or reduced in severity. Attorney R. Davis Younts, Esq., assists many clients in a similar situation and provides some insights on what to expect after receiving a traffic ticket in PA.
How Does the Pennsylvania Point System Work?
The state of Pennsylvania has a point system to help drivers cultivate safe driving habits. The system allows for points to be added to a driver’s record after that individual is found guilty of certain violations. For example, if a driver receives a ticket for speeding twenty-six or more miles over the speed limit, a total of five points will be added to that driver’s record. An illegal u-turn may result in three points. Speeding through a work zone may result in a suspension of fifteen days.
Once a total of six or more points are reached for the first time, a driver will be notified and asked to take a written examination. Those under 18 who accumulate six or more points will have their driving privileges suspended for 90 days. Any further violations will result in a 120-day suspension. All drivers are subject to having their license suspended or revoked if convicted of certain violations such as a DUI conviction or a hit-and-run offense.
How Long Do Points Stay on Your Driving Record?
Three points are eliminated from a driver’s record if that person is able to drive without committing any further violations for the next 12 months. For example, if a driver received a five-point violation and has been driving safely for 12 months following the date of the violation, that person can expect to have 3 points removed from their record after 12 months have passed without any additional violations.
If a driver received a notification to take a written exam, passing the exam results in 2 points being removed from their record. If the person fails the exam, they will have their driving privileges suspended until they are able to pass the exam. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, once a driving record is reduced to zero points and remains at zero points for 12 consecutive months, any further accumulation of points will be regarded as the first accumulation of points.
Is There a Way to Clear Your Driving Record in PA?
First of all, it is important to highlight that simply paying for your ticket will not clear your driving record. Second, while the PennDOT allows for certain offenses to be expunged or removed from a driver’s record, they will NOT remove any points resulting from that offense. Pennsylvania law allows for the expungement of summary offenses, but unfortunately, that does not apply to expungements of an individual’s driving record in most cases.
One of the few exceptions is for drivers who have successfully completed their sentence for Underage Drinking and have turned 21 and have no additional violations in their record. In that case, the driver can request the elimination of the suspension notation from their record and can file an expungement request to have the Underage Drinking suspension removed as well.
What Should I Do to Avoid Getting Points After Receiving a Ticket?
Receiving a ticket for a traffic violation can be a pretty upsetting experience, but it is important to never argue with the officer during the traffic stop. If you disagree with the ticket you received or have complaints about how the officer treated you, it is best to wait and speak to a supervisor at the police station later on.
You can also contest your ticket in court. Not every ticket is worth contesting – but in some cases, even a minor violation may result in sending your driving record over the 6-point limit and causing your license to be suspended. It is important to carefully analyze your ticket to understand what offense you are being ticketed for as well as to verify any information such as the type of equipment or procedure an officer may have used to issue the ticket. Some pieces of equipment such as VASCAR devices have proven to be unreliable and can be challenged in court. You will still need to pay for your ticket, but if you are successful in contesting it, the amount paid will be returned to you.
You must submit a not-guilty plea to the traffic court handling your case within 10 days of receiving your ticket. You can then expect to receive a date for a pretrial conference or for a trial in front of a judge. At this point, it may be in your best interest to hire a skilled traffic violations attorney to help you with your case. Attorney R. Davis Younts, Esq., has assisted many clients fighting a traffic violation ticket and can help you achieve a more positive outcome for your case. Contact us for a free case evaluation to see how we can help.