Archive for June, 2017

Spotlight Issue: What is the difference between a 1543(a) and a 1543(b) violation?

Friday, June 30th, 2017

What is the difference between a 1543(a) and a 1543(b) violation? Both violations are traffic offenses, but the consequences for each are vastly different. We’ll point out some of the most important differences here.

1) Both 1543(a) and 1543(b) violations relate to driving with a suspended license, BUT the reason for the original license suspension determines which section applies.

- 1543(a): any type of license suspension not related to a DUI

- 1543(b): license suspension related to a DUI – ex. DUI conviction or ARD disposition or refusal to submit to chemical testing

2) Both 1543(a) and 1543(b) convictions result in fines and additional license suspensions, BUT there are drastic differences in the amount of jail time involved (if any)

- 1543(a): the beginning penalty is a $200 fine and an additional license suspension – repeat violations result in an increased penalty of up to $1,000 fine and a jail sentence of up to 6 months – a 6th or subsequent conviction results in a mandatory $1,000 fine and a mandatory jail sentence of 30 days – 6 months

- 1543(b): penalty of $500 fine and immediately includes a mandatory jail sentence of 60 to 90 days

3) 1543(b) has increased penalties if the driver has drugs or alcohol above .02% in his blood OR refuses to submit to chemical testing, 1543(a) does not
– 1st conviction with enhanced penalty – mandatory $1,000 fine and 90 day jail sentence
– 2nd conviction with enhanced penalty – mandatory $2,500 fine and a jail sentence not to exceed 6 months
– 3rd conviction with enhanced penalty – mandatory $5,000 fine and a jail sentence not to exceed 2 years

As you can tell from this summary, there are much stricter penalties for driving with a DUI-suspended license under 1543(b); however, a 1543(a) violation should not be taken lightly, either. If you’ve been charged with either of these traffic offenses in Berks County, the stakes are too high for you to try to handle your case on your own. Our attorneys will investigate your case to see whether you have been properly charged and discuss your options with you, including the possibility of negotiating a reduced sentence. Contact our knowledgeable criminal law attorneys today at 610-372-5128 or email us at

ENM Law News: No jail time for 1543(a) violator

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Traffic tickets can often have relatively minor consequences, but in certain cases those same traffic tickets can have major consequences involving mandatory jail sentences. One such ticket is a violation of 1543(a) for driving with a suspended license. A first conviction usually results in a fine and an additional license suspension. But subsequent convictions can lead to jail sentences and a sixth or subsequent convictions leads to a mandatory sentence of 30 days to 6 months of incarceration.

A recent client came to Attorney McAllister facing the most serious sentence for a 1543(a) charge: a mandatory jail sentence of 30 days to 6 months. Attorney McAllister took the case and worked hard to negotiate a deal for this client that did not include ANY jail time. Attorney McAllister’s representation made a huge difference in this client’s case. If you’re facing a mandatory jail sentence for a 1543(a) violation in Berks County, you need an attorney who knows how to get you the best results. Contact our Reading, PA criminal law attorneys at 610-372-5128 or email us at

ENM Law News: Indirect Criminal Contempt win

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

A client came to our office looking for assistance with an Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC) charge for violating a Protection from Abuse order (PFA). Attorney McAllister found out that the offer from the District Attorney’s office was for a jail sentence of 3-6 months. Attorney McAllister and the client decided to proceed with a hearing. An ICC hearing is essentially a small trial in front of a judge. The District Attorney has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant violated the PFA by proving 4 elements:

- that the PFA was sufficiently definite, clear and specific to properly notify the defendant about what conduct was prohibited
- that the defendant knew about the PFA
- that the alleged act was volitional
- that the defendant acted with wrongful intent

The PFA plaintiff and our client both testified at the hearing and Attorney McAllister argued that the District Attorney did not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. He specifically argued that his client did not act with wrongful intent. The judge agreed with Attorney McAllister’s argument and dismissed the charge against our client.

If you’ve been charged with violating a PFA in Berks County, do not attend the hearing on your own. Contact our experienced criminal law attorneys in Reading, PA at 610-372-5128 or