We all know that we must have a driver’s license whenever we are behind of the wheel of a motorized vehicle, but even the most conscientious of people neglect to follow the law at one time or another. If you are caught by a law enforcement official to be driving without a license in Pennsylvania, the penalty can be rather severe. You are looking at expensive fines and possibly a jail sentence in certain situations. There are many possible reasons why you may not have had your license on you, which means that there is a defense that can be lodged in your case. Regardless, you will want to take the charge seriously. You do not want this following you around for the rest of your life. This is why you want a professional criminal lawyer working on your behalf from the beginning.
What is the Penalty for Driving Without a License?
This is a common question and a good one to consider. First, it should be noted that it is against the law to drive any roadworthy motorized vehicle without a driver’s license that is valid and applicable to that class of automobile. That being said, there are some things that you will want to consider here.
Being convicted of this charge the first time will typically result in a summary judgment being issued against you. The fine for that is about $200. An expensive mistake to be sure.
What happens if you do happen to have a valid license but you forgot to carry it with you when you started driving? In that case, you are allowed 15 days from the time that you received the violation to show up in the proper office with a valid driver’s license. If you can do that, then you will not be charged for the violation of driving without a license. The other exception is if you can prove that your license was either destroyed, lost, or stolen just before you started driving. In which case, you will still have the 15 days to show a valid replacement license.
It should be noted that there is also a provision in the law for individuals who can prove that they have a driver’s license that was valid up until the last day of the previous period for the driver’s license. If that is the case, and no more than one year has gone by from the last day of renewal, you will only be fined $25.
Here’s What To Do If You Get Pulled Over By the Police
You might get a hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach when the police pull you over and you cannot produce your driver’s license. This is not a time to panic. If you have a valid license, you have nothing to worry about. If you do not, there are still options. The key is to begin by being respectful to the police at all times.
You do not want to try and talk your way out of getting the violation or being arrested. The police are just doing their job. The more respectful you are to them, the faster you can get on with putting this whole episode behind you. If the police start to ask you a lot of questions, respectfully decline to provide any answers. Instead, clearly state that you would like a lawyer.
Call a Lawyer
As soon as you can, you will want to contact our office. We are experienced in handling cases just like this. There are defenses that can be mounted against a charge of driving without a license. The important thing is to consult with a lawyer right away so that you can get the best possible representation. It is important to have the advice and counsel that your lawyer will provide you from the beginning. Do not delay on this point.
Philadelphia Driving Points and Penalties Lawyers
Pennsylvania is one of the states that uses a point system to keep track of moving violations. The more points you get, the more penalties you will have to deal with. Insurance premiums can go up and you can even lose your license if you get enough points. To help you get a better idea of how these points work and what to do if you get too many, here’s a quick overview.
How many points are violations worth?
- 2 points for failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
- 2 points for going 6-10 MPH over the speed limit
- 3 points for failing to stop at a red light
- 3 points for ignoring a flashing red light
- 3 points for taking up more than half of the road when there is oncoming traffic
- 3 points for passing improperly in general
- 3 points for failing to yield
- 3 points for speeding in a school zone
- 3 points for driving carelessly in general
- 3 points for going 11-15 MPH over the speed limit (with an additional penalty of a 15-day license suspension if it happened in a work zone)
- 4 points for improper passing while on a hill
- 4 points and a 30-day suspension for ignoring and passing through a train crossing
- 4 points for leaving the scene of an accident where there was property damage
- 4 points for going 16-25 MPH over the speed limit (with an additional penalty of a 15-day license suspension if it happened in a work zone)
- 5 points and a 60-day license suspension for not stopping for a school bus with flashing red lights
- 5 points for going 26-30 MPH over the speed limit (with an additional penalty of a 15-day license suspension if it happened in a work zone)
- 5 points for going 31 MPH or more over the speed limit (with the additional penalty of a 15-day license suspension if it happened in a work zone, as well as additional penalties as determined at your hearing)
What happens when you get six or more points?
The big threshold to keep in mind when it comes to driving violations in Pennsylvania is six points. Once you get six points, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will notify your insurance company. As a result, you may see your monthly premiums go up.
You will also be required to take and pass a written exam. If you don’t do this within 30 days, then your license will be suspended. If you do pass the test, two of the points will go away.
If you hit six points again, you will be required to attend a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation hearing. A failure to appear will suspend your license for 60 days. When you do appear, the hearing will determine exactly what sort of punishment you will receive.
- You may receive no punishment and no change to your points
- Your license can be suspended for 15 days, after which two points will be removed from your record
- You may take a driving exam on the road. If you pass, two points will be removed. If you fail, your license will be suspended until you take the test again and pass.
If you receive six points for a third time, you will have another hearing. Your license will likely be suspended for 30 days and no points will be deducted from your record. A failure to appear results in a suspended license.
For individuals that are 18 or younger, licenses can be immediately suspended if either six points are accumulated or you drive at least 26 MPH over the speed limit.
If someone gets more than 11 points, their license will be suspended immediately. The length of the suspension will correspond to how many suspensions they have received in the past.
- If an individual had their license suspended once, then their new suspension will last 5 days for every point they have.
- If an individual had their license suspended twice, the new suspension will last 10 days per point.
- For three suspensions, 15 days per point.
- For further suspensions, the new suspension will be one year in length.
How can an attorney help you?
If you’re charged with a traffic violation, then that doesn’t mean the points are on your record for good. A skilled attorney can help you fight the charge and get the points removed.