Losing your driver’s license is a major penalty associated with a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol in Pennsylvania. Unlike in many other states, Pennsylvania does not have a separate administrative hearing that allows you to contest your license suspension. It happens automatically under certain circumstances. Your best bet then is to fight the DUI or request an occupational limited license. Contact a seasoned suspended license lawyer from our firm to learn more about how we can defend you or work to get your license back.
Suspended License Lawyer | Helping You Keep Your License
Don’t run the risk of having your license suspended without first hiring a competent Montgomery County DUI lawyer to represent you. Our legal team has extensive experience fighting for people just like you, and we’re here to put that experience to work for you in your case.
DUI License Suspensions in PA
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) can impose certain sanctions on a person’s ability to drive within the Commonwealth of PA when certain DUI-related circumstances apply. DUI license suspensions typically are as follows:
- BAC below .10%: no suspension (first offense), 12-month suspension (subsequent offense)
- BAC between .10 and .16%: 12-month suspension (first offense), 18-month suspension (subsequent offense)
- BAC of .16% or higher: 12-month suspension (first offense), 18-month suspension (subsequent offense)
- Refusal of blood or chemical test: 12-month suspension (first offense), 18-month suspension (subsequent offense)
- Commercial driver’s license: (.04% BAC): 12-month license suspension (first offense), permanent revocation (subsequent offense)
- School bus driver’s license (.02%): 12-month license suspension (first offense), 18-month license suspension (subsequent offense)
- Under 21 DUI (.02% BAC): 12-month license suspension (first offense), 18-month license suspension (subsequent offense)
Fighting your driver’s license suspension is possible by challenging the underlying DUI charge. Otherwise, if the applicable circumstance listed above applies, your driver’s license will be suspended in accordance with the chart.
Occupational Limited License
An occupational limited license permits a person to drive to:
- medical appointments, and
- other necessary driving permitted by the court.
After a first-offense DUI, you can be eligible to get your occupational limited license after serving 60 days of your suspension or immediately with the use of an ignition interlock device.
If your license was instead suspended for 18 months for whatever reason, you will be eligible for the occupational limited license after serving 6 to 9 months of the suspension, and only then with an ignition interlock device.
An occupational limited license is a crucial part of getting your life back to normal. It ensures you are still able to get to the most important parts of your life, and that a suspension does not cause you to lose your job, drop out of school, or negatively impact your health.
Ignition Interlock Device
An ignition interlock device is a contraption that is attached to your motor vehicle’s ignition. It requires the driver to blow into the device before the vehicle can start. If the device detects any amount of alcohol on the driver’s breath, the vehicle will not start. The device may also be able to create a report that can be sent to the defendant’s probation officer and the court.
Repeat offenders, and even some first-time offenders under new Pennsylvania law, allow or requires the use of an ignition interlock device in order to get an occupational limited license. Failure to use the ignition interlock device will result in a denial of the request for the limited license when the use of the interlock device is required by law.
An ignition interlock device can be a very useful tool to get your life back on track. It allows you to drive within the suspension period, without having to wait the full period to be able to drive again. This can help get your life back to normal.
It is important to avoid the use of alcohol and getting behind the wheel, in any amount. A single sip of someone’s beer at dinner, which would not likely cause intoxication, will register on the device. It will lock you out of starting the vehicle and could generate a report that could cause you further legal trouble. Do not drink a drop before using an ignition interlock device.
Driver’s License Suspension Appeals in Pennsylvania
Navigating the complexities of a driver’s license suspension can be a daunting experience, especially after a DUI charge. Fortunately, there are avenues for appeal, offering a glimmer of hope to those seeking to regain their driving privileges.
Valid Reasons for Seeking a License Suspension Appeal
Some potentially valid reasons for requesting a driver’s license suspension appeal in Pennsylvania are as follows:
- Incorrect Procedure: If the arresting officer or the Department of Transportation (PennDOT) failed to follow the correct legal procedures, this might be grounds for an appeal.
- Inadequate Evidence: A successful appeal can hinge on demonstrating that the evidence used to suspend the license was insufficient or flawed.
- Misinterpretation of the Law: Sometimes, an appeal is necessary if there’s been a misapplication or misinterpretation of the law regarding your suspension.
- Medical or Emergency Circumstances: In cases where driving was necessitated by an emergency or medical reasons, this could form a basis for appealing the suspension.
Steps in the Appeals Process
- Review the Suspension Notice: Carefully read the notice you received from PennDOT. Note the reason for the suspension and the deadline for filing an appeal.
- Understand the Appeal Process: Familiarize yourself with Pennsylvania’s legal process for license suspension appeals, which is typically handled by the Commonwealth Court.
- Gather Necessary Documentation: Compile any relevant evidence that supports your appeal.
This could include witness statements, medical records, or evidence of procedural errors.
- File the Appeal: Complete the required forms for an appeal, available through PennDOT or a legal representative. Ensure that your appeal is filed within the specified time frame mentioned in the suspension notice.
- Prepare for the Hearing: Organize your evidence and arguments. Consider consulting with or hiring a DUI defense attorney who specializes in license suspension appeals in Pennsylvania.
- Attend the Hearing: Present your case to the judge, highlighting why your license should not be suspended. Be prepared to answer questions and provide clarifications.
- Await the Decision: Following the hearing, the court will make a decision on your appeal. This can either result in the reinstatement of your license or the upholding of the suspension.
- Post-Decision Steps: If successful, follow any steps required by PennDOT to reinstate your license. If the appeal is unsuccessful, discuss further options with your attorney, such as re-appeal or alternative transportation solutions.
Getting Your Driver’s License Reinstated
To get your driver’s license reinstated in Pennsylvania you will first need a restoration requirements letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The process requires you to apply to get your driver’s license back and there are several options available.
The circumstances for license reinstatement differ depending on the circumstances of the driver’s license suspension. Certain general steps apply to most people:
- Surrender the Suspended Driver’s License to PennDOT: This step typically occurs right after the license is suspended. Most suspension periods will not even start until the driver’s license is surrendered.
- Complete the Suspension Period: The person who wishes to get driving privileges back must first complete the suspension period for however long that is in the individual case.
- Pay a Reinstatement Fees: To reinstate your Pennsylvania driver’s license there are fees. This is on top of any other expenses that may be a part of the process, and any fees you already owe from other circumstances.
- Satisfy All Court Conditions: Any conditions imposed by the court, such as alcohol education classes or treatment must be completed before a license will be reinstated. Failure to complete the requirements set forth by the court will result in a denial of your application for reinstatement.
- Submit Proof of Car Insurance: Under Pennsylvania law, every driver is required to have liability car insurance. To get your driver’s license back, you must prove that you have the requisite insurance before it will be given back to you.
Because the individual requirements for reinstatement can differ based on your circumstances, it is best to consult with your experienced suspended license lawyer for help with this process. With an attorney at your side, you can make sure that you meet all of the requirements for license reinstatement before you apply. This will save you money and a great deal of frustration.
Consult an Experienced Pennsylvania Suspended License Lawyer
Don’t face the long-term impacts of a DUI without a competent DUI suspended license lawyer in your corner. Contact Cohen & Patel today so we can get started working on your case and fighting for the outcome you deserve. We proudly represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, including in Montgomery County, Berks County, and Chester County, and all of Eastern PA, including East Norriton, Norristown, Allentown, Lancaster, Bensalem, Easton, Levittown, Bethlehem, Erie, Mechanicsburg, Chester, Harrisburg, and more.