Spotlight Issue: Driving Offenses

Offenses committed while operating a vehicle can carry penalties ranging from fine-only to incarceration. Here is information on some of the most common driving offenses that can result in jail time.


Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police Officer-

Defined as any driver of a motor vehicle who willfully fails or refuses to bring his vehicle to a stop,or who otherwise flees or attempts to elude a pursuing police officer, when given a visual and audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop – Fleeing or Eluding is a felony of the third degree if the driver, while fleeing or eluding, was also driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, crossing state lines, or endangering lives while engaging in a high speed chase. Otherwise, the offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree. When graded as a felony of the third degree, this offense is punishable by a maximum sentence of 7 years of incarceration and $15,000 fine. When graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree, Fleeing or Eluding is punishable by a maximum sentence of 2 years of incarceration and a $5,000 fine. Also note that there are statutory defenses to this crime.


Accidents Involving Damage to Attended Vehicle or Property-

Failure to abide by the requirement that the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle or other property which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident, or as close thereto as possible, but shall forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until he has fulfilled the duty to given information and render aid – Accidents Involving Damage to Attended Vehicle is a misdemeanor of the third degree and is punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year of incarceration and a $2,000 fine. A conviction for this offense also results in 4 driver’s license points.


Accidents Involving Damage to Unattended Vehicle or Property-

Failure to abide by the requirement that the driver of any vehicle which collides with or is involved in an accident with any vehicle or other property which is unattended resulting in any damage to the other vehicle or property shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of the damaged vehicle or other property of his identifying information, financial responsibility information and registration number of the vehicle being driven OR shall attach said information in a conspicuous place in or on the damaged vehicle or property and notify the nearest police officer – Accidents Involving Damage to Unattended Vehicle is a summary offense and is punishable by a maximum possible sentence of 90 days of incarceration and a $300 fine. A conviction for this offense also results in 4 driver’s license points.


Racing on Highways (second or subsequent offense)-

No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race of acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, exhibition of speed or acceleration, or for the purpose of making a speed record, and no person shall in any manner participate in any such race, competition, contest test or exhibition – Racing on Highways as a first offense is punishable by a mandatory fine of $200. However, a second or subsequent conviction results in a maximum possible sentence of 6 months of incarceration and a $1,000 fine.


Habitual Offenders-

A habitual offender is defined as someone who is convicted 3 or more times within 5 years of one of the following offenses:
– any violation of Chapter 37 relating to serious traffic offenses including Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police and Reckless Driving
– any violation of Chapter 38 relating to DUI
– any violation of Section 1543(b) relating to driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked
– any violation 3367 relating to racing on highways
– any violation of section 3742 relating to accidents involving death or personal injury while not properly licensed
– any violation of section 3743 relating to accidents involving damage to attended vehicle or property
PennDot makes the determination of habitual offender status. Habitual Offenders is a misdemeanor of the second degree and is punishable by a maximum permissible sentence of 2 years of incarceration and a $5,000 fine.

Driving offenses can have far reaching consequences. If you’ve been charged with a driving offense in Reading, Pennsylvania, then you need an experienced criminal attorney on your side. Contact our Reading, PA lawyers today at 610-372-5128 or email us at info@enmlaw.com.

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