PITTSBURGH DRIVING UNDER SUSPENDED LICENSE LAWYER

 

HOW IS DRIVING WHILE OPERATING PRIVILEGE SUSPENDED DEFINED IN PENNSYLVANIA?

Section 1543 of the Vehicle Code outlines what is commonly referred to as the offense of driving under a suspended license.  The crime is essentially thought of in terms of its subsections: 1543(a), 1543(b), and 1543(b)(1.1). 

1543(a) makes it a crime to drive a motor vehicle after the commencement of a license suspension, revocation, or cancellation.

1543(b) penalizes a motorist who drives after the person’s driving privileges have been suspended or revoked due to a DUI, acceptance of ARD for a DUI, or conviction of Section 1547(b)(1) (relating to suspension for refusal of chemical testing).

1543(b)(1.1) penalizes a motorist with a DUI-suspended license who drives a motor vehicle with a BAC of .02% or a controlled substance in their blood. 

 

HOW SERIOUS IS THIS OFFENSE?

A violation of Section 1543(a) is a summary offense punishable by a mandatory fine of $200. Under Section 6503 of the Vehicle Code, however, “a person convicted of a sixth or subsequent offense under Section 1543(a) shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $1,000 and to imprisonment for not less than 30 days but not more than six months.”

 

A violation of Section 1543(b) is generally a summary offense. The penalties and grade of the offense vary depending upon the violator’s previous convictions under Section 1543(b).

  • First conviction: Summary offense, mandatory $500 fine, and mandatory 60 days imprisonment. See Section 1543(b)(1)(i).
  • Second conviction: Summary offense, mandatory $1,000 fine, and mandatory 90 days imprisonment. See Section 1543(b)(1)(ii).
  • Third or subsequent conviction: Third-degree misdemeanor, mandatory $2,500 fine,  and mandatory 6 months imprisonment. See 1543(b)(1)(iii)

 

The penalties and grade of the offense for Section 1543(b)(1.1) similarly varies depending upon the violator’s previous convictions under Section 1543(b)(1.1).

  • First conviction: Summary offense, mandatory $1,000 fine, and mandatory 90 days imprisonment. See Section 1543(b)(1.1)(i).
  • Second conviction: Third-degree misdemeanor, mandatory $2,500 fine, and mandatory 6 months imprisonment. See Section 1543(b)(1.1)(ii).
  • Third or subsequent conviction: First-degree misdemeanor, mandatory $5,000 fine,  and mandatory 2 years imprisonment. See 1543(b)(1.1)(iii)

 

Those convicted of any provision of Section 1543 should also be mindful that if their license was suspended, recalled, or cancelled on the date of the violation “and had not been restored,” then PennDOT will suspended the person’s license for an additional year.  If the person’s license was revoked, then PennDOT will revoke the person’s license for an additional two years.

 

If you or a loved one is charged with driving under a suspended license, call Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, Ryan H. James, who has tried and argued these cases with successful results.  Attorney James can be personally reached at 412-977-1827, or by e-mail at ryan@rhjameslaw.com