One of the most serious traffic offenses under the Vehicle Code is driving on a suspended license based upon a DUI, often called a “1543(b)” citation. Although a first offense is graded as a summary infraction, the penalties include mandatory jail time and steep fines. A violation of a license suspension based upon a DUI is treated much more seriously by the courts.
The attorneys at Skinner Law Firm represent individuals facing license suspensions based on a DUI in West Chester, and Delaware County area. Contact the Skinner Law Firm today for a consultation regarding your DUI and license suspension issue at (610) 436-1410.
Pursuant to 75 Pa.C.S. § 1543(b), any person whose license is suspended based on admission to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, a DUI conviction, a chemical test refusal or a suspension based upon an out of state DUI and is caught driving is guilty of a summary offense and must pay a fine of $500 and serve between 60 and 90 days in jail. Any person whose blood alcohol content is greater than .02% or includes an illegal Controlled Substance must pay a $1,000 fine and serve 90 days in jail. In addition to these fines and mandatory jail times, an offender faces an additional one-year license suspension.
Repeat offenders face additional penalties. A driver who repeatedly drives with a blood alcohol content of .02% or greater on a DUI-related suspended license faces misdemeanor charges, thousands of dollars in fines and possibly prison time of up to 2 years.
Unlike other criminal and traffic offenses, a driver found guilty of a 1543(b) citation can be sentenced to jail by a Magisterial District Court judge. A driver has 30 days to appeal this punishment. If he or she appeals, the jail sentence will be stayed pending resolution in the Court of Common Pleas.
There are limited defenses available to fighting a 1543(b) charge. A driver’s license may actually be suspended for a non-DUI related issue. A driver may also have a valid license, with the mistake on PennDOT’s part. Additionally, all constitutional defenses apply to 1543(b) cases. For example, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion to pull over a driver.
It is also important to note that a driver whose license has been suspended based upon a DUI cannot drive unless his or her license is restored. This means even after a driver serves a period of suspension (such as 30 days, 60 days or one year), he or she cannot drive until official notice from PennDOT is received. It is up to a driver to pay the restoration fee and take any other necessary measures before driving privileges are restored.
If you have been charged with a 1543(b) citation for driving on a suspended license – DUI related, you are facing severe consequences. Contact the Skinner Law Firm today. Attorney Michael J. Skinner will hear the facts of your particular case, and make every effort to help you avoid these severe penalties. Contact the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 for a consultation about your case.