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DUI License Suspension in Pennsylvania

Losing your driver's license is a major penalty associated with a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol in Pennsylvania. Unlike in many other states, Pennsylvania does not have a separate administrative hearing that allows you to contest your license suspension. It happens automatically under certain circumstances. Your best bet then is to fight the DUI or request an occupational limited license.

With the help of experienced criminal defense attorney David J. Cohen at your side every step of the way, you can know that you are represented by an attorney who understands Pennsylvania DUI laws and can defend your case.

DUI License Suspensions

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) can impose certain sanctions on a person's ability to drive within the state when certain DUI related circumstances apply.

Circumstance

First Offense

Subsequent Offense

BAC below .10 percent

no suspension

12 month suspension

BAC between .10 and .16 percent

12 months

18 months

BAC of .16 or higher

12 months

18 months

Refusal of blood or chemical test

12 months

18 months

Commercial driver's license (.04 BAC)

12 months

lifetime disqualification

School Bus Drivers (.02 BAC)

12 months

18 months

Under 21 DUI (.02 BAC)

12 months

18 months


Fighting your driver's license suspension is possible through challenging the underlying DUI charge. Otherwise, if the applicable circumstance listed above applies, your driver's license will be suspended in accordance with the chart.

Occupational Limited License

An occupational limited license permits a person to drive to:

  • work,
  • school,
  • medical appointments, and
  • other necessary driving permitted by the court.

After a first offense DUI, you can be eligible to get your occupational limited license after serving 60 days of your suspension or immediately with the use of an ignition interlock device.

If your license was instead suspended for 18 months for whatever reason, you will be eligible for the occupational limited license after serving 6 to 9 months of the suspension, and only then with an ignition interlock device.

An occupational limited license is a crucial part of getting your life back to normal. It ensures you are still able to get to the most important parts of your life, and that a suspension does not cause you to lose your job, drop out of school, or negatively impact your health.

Ignition Interlock Device

An ignition interlock device is a contraption that is attached to your motor vehicle's ignition. It requires the driver to blow into the device before the vehicle can start. If the device detects any amount of alcohol on the driver's breath, the vehicle will not start. The device may also be able to create a report that can be sent to the defendant's probation officer and the court.

Repeat offenders, and even some first-time offenders under new Pennsylvania law, allows or requires the use of an ignition interlock device in order to get an occupational limited license. Failure to use the ignition interlock device will result in a denial of the request for the limited license when the use of the interlock device is required by law.

An ignition interlock device can be a very useful tool to get your life back on track. It allows you to drive within the suspension period, without having to wait the full period to be able to drive again. This can help get your life back to normal.

It is important to avoid the use of alcohol and getting behind the wheel, in any amount. A single sip of someone's beer at dinner, which would not likely cause intoxication, will register on the device. It will lock you out of starting the vehicle and could generate a report that could cause you further legal trouble. Do not drink a drop before using an ignition interlock device.

Getting Your Driver's License Reinstated

To get your driver's license reinstated in Pennsylvania you will first need a restoration requirements letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The process requires you to apply to get your driver's license back and there are several options available.

The circumstances for license reinstatement differ depending on the circumstances of the driver's license suspension. Certain general steps apply to most people:

  • Surrender the Suspended Driver's License to PennDOT: This step typically occurs right after the license is suspended. Most suspension periods will not even start until the driver's license is surrendered.
  • Complete the Suspension Period: The person who wishes to get driving privileges back must first complete the suspension period for however long that is in the individual case.
  • Pay a Reinstatement Fees: To reinstate your Pennsylvania driver's license there are fees. This is on top of any other expenses that may be a part of the process, and any fees you already owe from other circumstances.
  • Satisfy All Court Conditions: Any conditions imposed by the court, such as alcohol education classes or treatment must be completed before a license will be reinstated. Failure to complete the requirements set forth by the court will result in a denial of your application for reinstatement.
  • Submit Proof of Car Insurance: Under Pennsylvania law, every driver is required to have liability car insurance. To get your driver's license back, you must prove that you have the requisite insurance before it will be given back to you.

Because the individual requirements for reinstatement can differ based on your circumstances, it is best to consult with your experienced DUI attorney for help with this process. With an attorney at your side, you can make sure that you meet all of the requirements for license reinstatement before you apply. This will save you money and a great deal of frustration.

Consult an Experienced Pennsylvania DUI Defense Attorney

If you face charges of DUI, a license suspension may be on the horizon. Understanding the terms, rules, and requirements of a license suspension is an important part of staying out of trouble, and getting your right to drive back as soon as possible.

Criminal defense attorney David J. Cohen is devoted to representing the people of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas. Contact the David J. Cohen Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation.

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