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Police woman giving fine receipt to driver on road

Why It’s Worth It to Fight a Traffic Violation

The Law Offices of John Della Rocca May 15, 2023

It’s always a nerve-wracking situation. You’re stopped in your running car, a police cruiser behind you with their lights flashing. The officer returns from his car with your ID, along with another piece of paper. He hands it to you, and you realize that it’s a ticket. As you drive off, you wonder—”Should I fight my traffic violation?” 

Read on to learn more about the traffic/ticket/point system, possible defenses, common penalties for a traffic ticket, and how a criminal defense attorney can assist you in fighting a traffic violation in Pennsylvania. At The Law Offices of John Della Rocca, I’m here to help you move forward. 

Understanding the Traffic/Ticket/Point System in Pennsylvania

Like many states, Pennsylvania uses a traffic/ticket/point system that changes depending on the severity of your violation. Generally, the state breaks violations into two categories: 

  • Low-Point Violations: Driving too quickly for road/weather conditions, failing to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk, and driving 6 to 10 MPH over the speed limit: 2 points. Not stopping at a signal, following too closely, making an illegal u-turn, careless driving, and driving 11 to 15 MPH over the speed limit: 3 points. 

  • High-Point Violations: Failure to stop at a railroad crossing, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in property damage, and driving 16 to 25 MPH over the speed limit: 4 points. Failure to stop at a school bus with flashing lights and driving 26 to 30 MPH over the speed limit: 5 points. 

Possible Penalties for a Traffic Violation

Whether you’re living in Philadelphia, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, or anywhere else in Pennsylvania, you’re going to face some penalties once you accrue 6 points on your license. While drivers often accept their violations without a fight, this is a mistake. Driving violations can result in serious penalties like these: 

Legal Repercussions 

The first time you reach 6 points on your license, you’ll have the option to take a written exam to remove 2 points. You’ll need to complete the exam within 30 days of receiving your violation. 

If you reach 6 points again, you’ll need to attend a PennDOT departmental hearing. There, a hearing examiner will decide whether to suspend your license for 15 days or require you to complete a behind-the-wheel driving test to remove 2 points. They may also choose to take no action against you. 

Finally, if you drive more than 31 MPH over the speed limit, you might lose your license for 15 days. In addition, if you accrue 11 points or more, the state may suspend your license for:

  • First Offense: 5 days per point. 

  • Second Offense: 10 days per point. 

  • Third Offense: 15 days per point. 

  • Subsequent Offenses: 1 year. 

In addition to losing your license, you may face significant fines. For example, reckless driving or driving with a suspended license could result in a $200 fine. 

Higher Insurance Rates 

One of the biggest penalties you may face from your traffic violation may not actually come from the legal system itself. Instead, it’s increased insurance premiums. In fact, some analysts estimate that insurance rates may increase by 24% (or $380) per year for drivers who get speeding tickets. What’s more, this can even happen before you hit 6 points on your license. 

Defenses for a Traffic Violation/Ticket

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your violation, you may be able to craft a strategic and successful defense against it. However, representing yourself in court can be difficult if you don’t have a thorough understanding of Pennsylvania traffic law. That’s where I can help. 

Contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

If the state of Pennsylvania has issued you a traffic violation, you still have options. You may be able to negotiate with prosecutors to reach a better result. You can also appeal your violation in court. Both of these options, however, can be difficult to undertake alone. 

As an experienced criminal defense attorney, I’m ready to assist you. I’ve spent more than 20 years helping my clients fight against traffic violations. I’ll go over the details of your case with you to determine your best course of action and—if necessary—represent you in court. Schedule a free consultation today and let’s talk about your case.