The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) places points on your driving record if you are convicted of certain traffic violations. Accumulation of these points can lead to higher auto insurance premiums and license suspension, which can seriously impact your finances and affect your ability to get to work. If you’re facing points for serious traffic violations or multiple minor violations, an experienced local defense attorney may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed, lower the number of points that are placed on your driving record, and help you avoid costly fines, insurance rate increases and possible license suspension.
How Does the Point System Affect Pennsylvania Drivers?
The purpose of the PA point system is to help motorists improve their driving habits and keep the roads as safe as possible. Violations that can result in points being placed on your driving record include:
- Failure to yield to a pedestrian using a crosswalk: 2 points
- Failure to stop at a stop sign or red light: 3 points
- Careless driving: 3 points
- Failure to stop for a school bus with red lights flashing: 5 points and 60-day license suspension
- Speeding: Number of points depends on how fast you were going and whether you were driving in a school or work zone
Although a few points may not seem like a big deal, they can accumulate fast. If you reach six or more points on your driving record, PennDOT will take corrective action.
When your driving record reaches six or more points for the first time, you are required to take a written examination. If you successfully pass the examination within 30 days, you can avoid driver’s license suspension and have two points removed from your record. The second time six points are reached, you face a 15-day license suspension and must take an on-road driving test. The third time six points are reached you are subject to a PennDOT hearing. If your driving record reaches 11 or more points, your license will be suspended automatically.
Points for Excessive Speeding
If you exceeded the posted speed limit by 31 MPH or more, you may be charged with excessive speeding and receive written notice of a mandatory PennDOT hearing. At the hearing, a PennDOT examiner will review your driving record and recommend that you take an on-road driving test or have your license suspended for 15 days. If you do not attend the hearing, your license will automatically be suspended for 60 days and you will receive five points on your driving record. At any PennDOT hearing, it is vital to have an experienced traffic violations lawyer by your side to protect your rights and minimize the amount of points placed your driving record.
Avoiding and Removing Points
If you haven’t had a traffic conviction for 12 consecutive months after the date of your last offense, you may have three points taken off your record.
The best way to avoid accumulation of points is to drive safely and follow all traffic laws, but mistakes happen. Seeking the counsel of an attorney who is well-versed in state and local traffic law can mean the difference between losing your license or staying on the road. Carosella & Associates’ skilled defense attorneys in West Chester will fight to protect your rights and help you win your case.