The privilege to drive is essential to the daily lives of most people. If you have been convicted of too many traffic offenses or other offenses that have resulted in a license suspension, you may find yourself in a seemingly inescapable cycle of having a suspended license, receiving a citation for driving while your license is suspended, and then having that suspension extended another year for that violation. For many people this becomes a way of life, and they believe the fines and added suspension are just a price for driving. However, what many people don't realize is that for repeat offenders, jail time is on the table.
Section 1543 of the vehicle code governs the rules regarding driving on a suspended license. For those who have had their license suspended due to acceptance into an ARD program or license suspension that is connected with a
DUI, if they are caught driving while on suspension they are facing a mandatory 90 days in jail! This can be a lengthier period of incarceration than the time given for the original DUI in the first place. On top of that the offender's driving privilege will be suspended for an additional year (or two years if the license was revoked).
However, even if your license has been suspended for an offense not connected with DUI, such as an accumulation of too many points on your license, you can still face potential jail time under the Vehicle Code's habitual offender statute. This is the place where many people who drive on a suspended license are caught by surprise, as prior to being labelled a habitual offender the only punishment for a violation of 1543(a) non-alcohol related driving on suspended license is usually a fine ranging up to $1000. On the second and subsequent violation of driving on a suspended license, offenders may receive jail time up to six months, though jail time is not necessarily common in the early going. However, on the sixth offense and every offense thereafter, jail time of at least 30 days and a fine of at least $1000 dollars is mandatory when caught driving on a suspended license!
There are defenses to driving on a suspended license. The Department of Transportation can not suspend your license without providing notice and the opportunity for a hearing. While this isn't as simple as saying “I never received anything in the mail,” an experienced defense attorney can challenge the citation on these bases. Furthermore, the Commonwealth has the burden to prove every element of the crime, including demonstrating that you were indeed suspended through proper documentation which may be challenged by an attorney
If you have had your license suspended and are continuing to drive, you are playing with fire. Attorney Frank Walker can aid you in clearing up any issues with your license and potentially get you back on the road with a valid license. If you have been charged with driving on a suspended license, Attorney Walker can help you mount a serious defense and get the charges reduced or dismissed. If your case should result in a jail sentence, Attorney Walker can also help you pursue alternatives to incarceration such as house arrest at sentencing. Don't ignore your license issues! Call Attorney Walker today at (412) 212-3878