If I had a nickel for every time I have gotten a phone call from a prospective client telling me that they have just been pulled over and given a ticket for driving with a suspended driver’s license and that they had no idea their license was suspended….well, I’d have a lot of nickels.
The majority of the time the answer to that question is that their license was suspended for failure to respond to a traffic ticket in their past. As a PA Traffic Ticket Lawyer , let me tell you how this happens.
When a person gets pulled over and receives a citation in Pennsylvania, they can do one of two things: Plead guilty and pay the ticket or plead not guilty and ask for a hearing. Take notice that “ignore the ticket” and “forget the ticket” are not included on the list of options. If a person does not respond to a traffic ticket within a specified period of time, the court will generate what is called a DL-38 form. This is bad. This is the form that the Court sends to PennDot who, upon receipt, will suspend the person’s driver’s license until they respond to the ticket by notifying the Court AND paying a $25 PennDot restoration fee. Both must occur. Keep in mind that by responding to the ticket, the driver still has the right to plead not guilty and fight it. Now lets rewind to the phone calls and the nickels.
When I receive the phone call, I ask the person if they have an old ticket out there that they did not take care of. The answer is always “yes”. I then explain to them they have two problems – the ticket that they didn’t respond to that got them suspended and the ticket they just got for driving while suspended. I then tell them to find the old ticket, respond to the ticket, pay the restoration fee and “voila”…..their driving privileges are restored. It can be done in one day. Next, we deal with the driving with a suspended license ticket that they just received. As a PA Drivers License Lawyer, I can tell you with a high degree of certainty that when I walk into court for that hearing with a client that has restored their license and I explain what happened to the cop, I can always get that ticket dropped. This is important because the penalty for Driving with a Suspended License carries with it a mandatory one (1) year loss of license, so this is not a ticket to be trifled with.
Lesson: when you get a ticket, take care of it.