In Pennsylvania, many motor vehicle offenses result in a driver’s license suspension that isn’t immediately apparent to the driver. One such offense is driving a vehicle with a suspended registration. Vehicle registration can be suspended for 3 reasons – lapse in insurance coverage, as the result of a citation or accident, or because of unpaid Turnpike tolls. Most suspensions are for 3 months. Appeals of a PennDot license suspension must be filed within 30 days of the date that the suspension notice is mailed. The appeal is heard by the Court of Common Pleas. Registration suspension can often be ended immediately by providing proof of insurance coverage and paying a large fine. Once a vehicle’s registration is suspended, if the car is driven by the owner, or with permission of the owner, the owner can be charged with violating 75 Pa. C.S. 1371. The criminal penalty for this offense is only a fine of $100 – $500 and it is handled in front of a Magisterial District Judge. But, a conviction will result in a separate and automatic 3-month driver’s license suspension by PennDot. This may be an unexpected consequence for many people who have pled guilty to the traffic ticket.
A client recently came to our office after pleading guilty to driving her vehicle when the registration was suspended. She was not represented by an attorney at that time. After her conviction, this client received a notice of a 3-month license suspension from PennDot. Aside from the difficulties associated with any license suspension, this client was in the process of obtaining a new job and needed a valid license to be hired. She came to our office for help. Attorney McAllister filed a timely Notice of Appeal. Any summary conviction in front of a Berks County Magisterial District Judge can be appealed to the Court of Common Pleas in Reading, PA. Attorney McAllister brought with him to that hearing evidence that the client was not aware that her registration was suspended and proof that she had restored her registration on the same day that she received the traffic citation. Attorney McAllister was able to negotiate with the Assistant District Attorney and his client was allowed to plead guilty to a different offense that did not result in a license suspension. This client’s job was no longer in jeopardy.
If you’ve been charged with driving a vehicle with a suspended registration, or any other traffic citation in Berks County, contact our experienced criminal law attorneys. Even though you think that the citation will only result in a fine, there could be more serious consequences that will surprise you. Call us at 610-372-5128 or email at [email protected]