At some point in our driving lives, just about everyone will get a traffic ticket or two. Speeding is the most common traffic violation. Most people don't think about contacting a lawyer over a traffic ticket but too many points on your record can lead to a loss of your license. Combined with the higher rates of insurance, contacting a lawyer to fight your traffic tickets can save you money in the long run. Before you just pay a traffic fine to make the ticket go away, make sure you understand your rights.
Common Traffic Tickets
Traffic tickets can Common traffic tickets in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania include:
- Running a red light
- Failing to stop at a stop sign
- Failure to signal a lane change
- Reckless driving
- Failure to use a seat belt
- Failure to stop for a school bus
- Texting while driving
Penalties for Speeding/Traffic Offenses
The penalties for speeding or other traffic violations in Pennsylvania depend on the type of violation. Penalties can include a fine, points on your driving record and a license suspension. Fines depend on the seriousness of the violation but often include a number of fees and surcharges. Failure to pay traffic fines can lead to extra costs and may even lead to an arrest warrant.
Pennsylvania has a point-based system for drivers. Traffic violations can carry between 2 to 5 points. Each violation goes on the driver's record, accumulating points. However, after 12 months of no traffic violations, drivers will clear 3 points from their record. Once a driver reaches 6 or more points on their record, they can face additional penalties.
After reaching 6 points, a driver will have to take a written driver safety exam. If the driver passes the exam, they will have 2 points removed from their record. If the driver does not pass, their license will be suspended. If a driver reaches 6 points on another occasion, they may have to take a drivers examination or have their license suspended.
Insurance companies may raise a driver's insurance premiums as the driver accumulates more points. This could lead to substantial driving insurance increases, or have the insurance company fail to renew a driver's insurance.
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Pennsylvania
The penalties for a speeding ticket can include fines, points on your record, and a suspended license. For example, speeding up to 10 miles over the speed limit is a 2-point violation. However, speeding 26 to 30 miles an hour over the speed limit is a 5-point violation, and will result in a 15-day suspension if the driver was speeding in a work zone.
You can fight a speeding or other traffic violation. You can fight a traffic ticket based on police officer errors, problems with the traffic ticket itself, lack of speeding device upkeep or calibration, or other legal or factual reasons. However, claiming you were speeding because you were in a hurry or you did not see the speed limit sign may not be a very a strong defense.
Speeding tickets in Pennsylvania vary based on the driver's speed, the posted speed limit, and other factors like if the driver was speeding in a construction zone. Police measure speed by using a radar gun, speed traps, or pacing the driver by following with the police car. However, these methods are not 100% accurate and police have been known to report incorrect speeds.
Loss of Your Pennsylvania Driver's License
Getting too many points on your license can result in a loss of your driving privileges. Accumulating 11 or more points will result in an automatic license suspension. A driver with 6 or more points may have their license suspended if they don't pass a safety exam. Drivers can also lose their license for more serious driving violations or crimes, such as a DUI or reckless driving.
Failure to Pay for a Ticket
If you were given a traffic ticket for speeding or some other violation, you generally have the option of pleading guilty and paying a fine or requesting a hearing to fight the ticket. If you request a hearing, you need to show up to the hearing on time. Failure to respond to a speeding ticket or traffic ticket can lead to problems down the road, including a suspended license.
Getting too many speeding tickets or traffic tickets can jack up the price of your insurance and lead to losing your license. You don't have to plead guilty just because a trooper gave you a ticket. Make sure you understand your options and your rights. 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.