Traffic tickets in Central Pennsylvania and across the state come with some pretty serious penalties. Some people tend to write off traffic tickets as insignificant and not worth their attention, but unfortunately, the penalties that come from traffic tickets make it almost impossible to ignore your ticket. Most people are aware of the fact that traffic tickets usually come with fines, and many think that if they pay the fine, the ticket is taken care of. But because of the Pennsylvania point system, paying your fine is not the only penalty you face from your traffic ticket, and paying the fine will not make the other penalties go away.
Like many other states across the country, Pennsylvania has a point system that they use for traffic violations. Each traffic violation is assigned a certain number of points, and if you are found guilty of a traffic offense, the corresponding number of points will be added to your driving record. The points will accumulate on your record for each violation, and if you reach a certain total, you could face even more consequences you are already facing for your traffic violation.
What are the point values?
Generally, the worse a traffic violation is considered to be, the more points will be added to your record. Some of the most common traffic violations result in the following point values:
- Careless driving: 3 points
- Failure to stop at a railroad crossing: 4 points
- Failure to stop at a red light: 3 points
- Failure to stop at a stop sign: 3 points
- Failure to stop for a school bus: 5 points
- Failure to yield (general): 3 points
- Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk: 2 points
- Following too closely: 3 points
- Illegal U-turn: 3 points
- Improper backing: 3 points
- Improper passing (general): 3 points
- Improper passing on a hill: 4 points
- Leaving the scene of an accident (property damage only): 4 points
- Speeding 6 to 10 mph over limit: 2 points
- Speeding 11 to 15 mph over limit: 3 points
- Speeding 16 to 25 mph over limit: 4 points
- Speeding 26 to 30 mph over limit: 5 points
- Speeding 31 mph or more over limit: 5 points and a Departmental Hearing and sanctions
- Violation of a license restriction (e.g. vision): 2 points
What are the consequences?
When the points on your record accumulate and add up to six points, you begin facing additional consequences. As you can see, it is easy to reach six points with only two traffic violations. Your first total of six points on your record will mean that you will have to take and pass an exam about safe driving. If you pass within 30 days of your notice, you will have two points removed from your record.
But if your record reaches six points for a second time, you will have to attend a Departmental Hearing with PennDOT . At that hearing, it will be determined whether you will have to take a special on road driving test, have your license suspended for 15 days, or even both. You can have two points removed once your suspension is over and/or once you pass the on road driving exam. If you do not attend the hearing, you will have your license suspended for 60 days.
If your record reaches a total of six points or more for a third time (or after your third time), you will face even harsher penalties. Keep in mind that the total has to be six points, not when you get an additional six points added. Your third time or more, you will attend another Departmental Hearing where they will decide whether or not to suspend your license for thirty days. If you do not attend this hearing, your license will be suspended until you do attend.
Why do you need a lawyer?
Even on top of your fine and the other negative consequences of a traffic ticket, like additional surcharges or increased insurance rates, running the risk of having points added to your record and facing a license suspension is a lot for anyone to face. You have the option to plead not guilty to your ticket so that you do not have to face any of these penalties. You will then go to court and plead your case before a judge who specifically hears traffic cases.
In many cases, judges are not as willing to listen to your side of the story, especially when the police officer explains at your hearing why they wrote you your ticket. But your Central Pennsylvania traffic ticket lawyer will help you develop an argument that will convince the judge to reduce the penalties on your ticket, including the number of points on your record, or even to drop the ticket completely. That way, your record does not have any points added, and you will not have to worry about the consequences of a point heavy driving record.