Category Archives: Motor Vehicle Law

Do I fight a 3111 (a) citation as an out of state driver?

Q: I was pulled over for speeding outside of Pittsburgh and was given a citation for 75 Pa. C.S.A § 3111 (a). The officer said he was giving me a break as it was a no point offense. As a Massachusetts driver, will this result in points being added to my Mass driving record? (Acton, MA)

A:  It is a no point offense in PA. You need to ask a MA attorney as I only know PA law. In PA, when the DMV receives a notice of a conviction of a motor vehicle offense from another state, it is reviewed to see what the similar offense in the PA Motor Vehicle Code is. If it is in substance it is similar to a PA offense, the PA DMV will impose whatever sanction on the licensee that is fitting under the similar PA offense. If I had to guess, I would not imagine that the DMV of MA would take any action on such a relatively minor driving offense. Different story with DUI, Reckless Driving, Accidents Involving Death or Serious Bodily Injury, etc. Happy Motoring!

Why did I receive a traffic ticket without a fine amount or court date?

Q: I received a traffic ticket for speeding while driving under a suspended license (from a DUI). The police officer did not bring it up or address it in the fine, but rather wrote that I was speeding 22 mph over the speed limit. I thought I was getting a huge break but when I got home I noted no fine amount so that I may plead guilty, pay the fine and hope I am not caught in the process of the suspension? Being that this would add 4 points to my driving record, does that warrant a mandatory appearance in front of a judge or could I call the Clerk of Courts to get the fine amount, pay it, and move on? (White Oak, PA)

A: Your question is a little unclear. I suggest taking the citation to a lawyer. If you were cited for speeding, 3362 and driving under a suspended license, DUI, 1543 b, you have a problem. The speeding will carry a fine, but the 1543 for a first offense can result in a one-year license suspension, 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. If you were cited only with speeding citation, and not a 1543 b, if you plead guilty and pay the speeding fine, the police cannot cite you thereafter for the 1543 as it would constitute double jeopardy and violate Criminal Rule of Procedure 109 and/or 110. However, what will likely happen is the cop will run your record after he gets back to the station, discover you are under and DUI suspension and cite you with a 1543 before you can get to court on the speeding offense.

MOTOR VEHICLE LAW, MAXIMUM SPEEDS, DUI SUSPENSION, 1543 (b), PLEA

How can points be removed from a driving record even if you plead guilty?

Q: I have recently received a traffic violation for improper passing in a no passing zone (3307) which is correct. I’m pleading guilty and getting ready to pay the $25 fine along with the other costs that come with citations. I’m worried about the points that will end up on my driving record and if I will lose my license. Is there a way to get rid of the points? I’m a graduate student doing a clinical placement and this is my first traffic citation and I’m wondering if it’s even worth trying to get rid of the points since my placement is five days a week.

A: A violation of 3307 of the Motor Vehicle Code carries three points. If you plead guilty, this is what will happen. I would advise to plead “not guilty” and request a hearing. Unless you argued with the officer, he or she may work the case out to a lesser offense. It is common for attorneys to do this. It is quite possible that your charge could be amended to another offense that carries no points. Under the PA Motor Vehicle Code, 3 points come off your record for every twelve consecutive months in which you are not under suspension or revocation.

If driving privileges are suspended in PA from DUI can I legally drive in PA with a NY license?

Q: I have a NY driver’s license from when I was in the Army. I was wondering if I could drive legally in PA with the NY driver’s license. Also, I got my DUI back in 2014. I have now heard that a warrant is required to take blood from DUI perpetrators. They didn’t have a warrant for my blood, so can I fight it? My license in PA is to be suspended for 18 months. I have completed 14 months out of the 18, is there any way I can get my license back earlier? (Carnegie, PA)

A: If a PA driver’s license suspension is in effect, the notice of suspension will be sent from PennDOT to the NY Department of Motor Vehicles. Most states are signatories to an interstate compact act and have reciprocity with driver’s licensing matters. You can probably call the NY State DMV to be certain. As far as the requirement of police to obtain a search warrant to obtain blood from a hospital, Birchfield v. North Dakota was a 2016 case and therefore does not apply retroactively to 2014. As far as getting your license back early, it is doubtful, but you can file for an Occupational Limited License on the PennDOT website. My question is why in 2017 are you still under suspension? You may want to get a Restoration Requirements letter and your driving record from PennDOT. You may also want to call the Clerk of Courts to see if there is any probation condition you have not fulfilled to make yourself eligible to restore.

Did I cause a fender bender? If so, will I get in trouble? If so, to what degree?

Q: There was construction leading to a highway coming home from work. They just recently put up a stop sign on the road where the construction was being completed on, as you merge onto the highway. I stopped at the sign and didn’t see anyone over on the freeway. I merged over to the highway quickly and hear someone honking. I look back and I assume the guy behind me had to hit the breaks to avoid me merging in the lane. We did not collide and didn’t come close. However, the woman in the car behind him must have been tailgating and slammed on the breaks and to avoid hitting the guy behind me, she steers right and drives into the lane that is blocked by traffic barriers. She hit an orange/white construction road barrier and quickly got out of her car and was giving me the finger. I don’t think much damage was done and can’t imagine anyone was hurt. I was going to pull over but there was no place to do so since the road next to me was blocked by construction barriers. I made the next exit turned around, got stuck in traffic before I could get back to the accident. By the time I got back, she was gone. I’m not totally sure if it was my fault. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: Section 3744 of the PA Motor Vehicle Code requires a driver of a vehicle which causes damage to another vehicle or property to give, at a minimum, his or her name, address and registration number of his vehicle. If that is not possible the statute requires the driver to forthwith report the incident to the nearest police department. My advice would be to report it to the local police department where this occurred or to the state police as soon as possible. Get a record of your report from the police if you can and keep it. There is a risk that you could be cited with a Motor Vehicle Code summary violation if someone took your license plate number. Also, you may want to report this to your motor vehicle insurance carrier. If you receive a call from the police do not offer to speak to them and call an attorney.

What can I do about this parking citation?

Q: I received a Citation/Summons today left on my car windshield for an apparent parking violation while I was at work. In line #26 the “Statute” option is checked, and PAVC is written in the line. #29 “Fine” 50 written, line #32 “Costs” has 38.50 written, and Line #33 has 10.00 written. Line #34 “Total Due” has 98.50 written. The Defendant Name is not mine, nor is the Defendant Address. The Vehicle Registration Number in line #11, the make in line #14, and the color in line #16 indicate my car. My car was parked directly outside of my apartment, with two wheels on the line of ground between the sidewalk and the curb. The whole street parks in this same manner, as the street is not large enough to allow traffic otherwise. This is not an exaggeration, I have a picture showing every single vehicle in front of and behind mine parking in this manner. Even with cars parked this way, traffic is to slow when two vehicles approach each other because of how narrow the street is. It is a two-lane street with buses and large semi-trucks operating on it day and night. The car behind mine had two wheels parked in the middle of the sidewalk, farther on it than my car. I saw no citation on theirs.

A: Plead not guilty and take your photos to court and fight it. You can hire an attorney as well but the legal fees may not be justified economically given the penalty you will be subject to if you should lose.

Can I fight an obedience to traffic control devices ticket for speeding?

Q: 71-mph in a 45-mph zone. There is no information on the citation regarding any speed timing device that was used to calculate my speed.

A:  You can always fight a traffic ticket. The issue is whether it is worth the time, effort and money balanced against your chance of winning. A lawyer would need to know more facts to give a thorough opinion, so I suggest you consult with one. My question is, if you were only cited with failure to obey a traffic control device, (red light, yield sign, whatever) which carries no points or license suspension and a small fine, why would you fight it? If you truly believe you are innocent, have a good driving record and some sort of plausible defense, plead not guilty, go to the hearing and tell your side of the story to the judge.

Will these traffic offenses show up on FBI background check?

Q: I have recently been charged with “Careless Driving” and “No Passing Zone”. This is the first time ever I have been guilty of anything. I was never drunk, nor arrested or fingerprinted or anything. The fine came in the mail because at the time cop pulled me over, I couldn’t find my registration. Anyhow, I am a medical student so I was wondering if it would show up on FBI background checks? Would it hinder my employment? This happened in the state of PA.

A: Most traffic offenses, such as these two, are not considered criminal offenses in PA. They will not show up on a criminal record check with the PA State Police. They will show up on a PA driver’s record, but again, they are not crimes. Please be aware that some no passing zone type offenses carry a driver’s license suspension that is not listed on your ticket, and is a separate matter handled administratively by PennDOT. Many times the unsuspecting motorist pleads guilty by mail and sends his or her money in, only to learn weeks later that PennDOT suspended his or her license. I would check to make sure this “No Passing Zone” offense does not involve school zones, school buses, construction sites, and other situations that may trigger such suspension. You should consult with a lawyer about the specific statute citation for which you are charged.

 

Can I get PennDOT to grant me concurrent driver license suspensions?

Q: Is it possible to get my consecutive suspensions to run concurrently? My license is suspended and I am reviewing my restoration requirements. I have 4 charges of driving on a suspended license, producing 4 suspensions of 1 year each. Plus, a drug delivery charge yielding a 6-month suspension.  I have already served a year in jail and 6 months on probation, but can hardly imagine my future if I must wait 4.5 years to be allowed to have a license again. Is there any chance that some action I could take, or with representation that is affordable, I could somehow get this significantly reduced, perhaps so that my consecutive 1 year suspensions could run concurrently?

A: PennDOT does not run driver’s license suspensions concurrently and the court has no authority to do so as it an administrative procedure. You may be eligible for an Occupational Limited License if the suspensions are not DUI or drug related. The PennDOT website has information on the OLL procedures.

Can I use a public defender to for an issue with reinstating my license ?

Q: My license has been suspended for until 2017, one year for not responding to a letter regarding my fine, and another year from years ago. (Bridgeville, PA). Can I get a public defender to help me?

A: No, at least not in Allegheny County. As mentioned a driver’s license suspension is actually an administrative punishment from PennDOT, separate from any underlying criminal case. Traditionally, the PD is to be appointed to represent a defendant at the critical stages of criminal prosecution to ensure due process and to protect constitutional rights. A driver’s license suspension is not considered to be a criminal matter evoking due process and constitutional rights. Your best bet is to do the background work yourself. Contact PennDOT and obtain a restoration letter and a copy of your driver’s record. These documents and if necessary, a call to PennDOT will help you understand what you need to do to restore your license. If not, then contact a lawyer who handles driver’s license issue.