West Chester

Traffic Offense Lawyer

You do not have to just accept a traffic ticket in Pennsylvania. If you simply pay the fine, this is the same as pleading guilty. The traffic ticket will go on your driving record, and driver’s license points could lead to unexpected consequences and increased insurance premiums. It’s always best to at least consult a traffic ticket lawyer about the ticket, your driving record, and any mitigating or aggravating factors that could save you time, money, and inconvenience.

So, before you blindly pay a ticket in West Chester, Phoenixville, Exton Kennett Square, Oxford, Coatesville, or anywhere in Chester County, consider fighting it with help from an experienced West Chester defense lawyer. At Skinner Law Firm, we are can evaluate your ticket, review the possibility of having the citation reduced or dismissed, and how you can achieve the best possible result.

We can help you fight traffic tickets and protect your Pennsylvania driving record. Call Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 or use our online form to request a free consultation.

Common Traffic Violations in West Chester

At Skinner Law Firm, we have extensive experience with traffic ticket defense, from basic speeding tickets to serious traffic offenses.

Do not hesitate to call us to defend against:


Aggravated Assault by a Vehicle

(75 PA Cons Stat §3732.1): A prosecutor can charge you with a third-degree felony if you drive while impaired due to drugs or alcohol, and as a result, recklessly or with gross negligence cause another person serious bodily injury. The statute also provides several aggravating factors that will result in harsh penalties, including additional years of imprisonment.


Fleeing or Eluding Police

(75 PA Cons Stat §3733): This offense refers to willfully failing or refusing to stop your vehicle, fleeing, or attempting to elude the police when officers give you visual and audible signals to stop. Depending on the circumstances, you will face a second-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony.


Reckless Driving/Careless Driving

(75 PA Cons Stat §373675 and §3714): An officer can cite you for reckless driving if you operate a vehicle in a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of other people and property. This is a summary offense with a $200. If you drive with a careless disregard for people and property’s safety, you will also face a summary offense.


Failure to Stop

(75 PA Cons Stat §§3742—3745): Pennsylvania traffic law requires you to stop following accidents that cause property or vehicle damage, injury, or death. Several statutes create this duty to stop. If you fail to stop at the scene of an accident, provide your information, and offer necessary aid, a prosecutor can charge you with a summary offense, misdemeanor, or felony. The level of the offense and penalties depends on the specific facts.


Leaving the Scene of an Accident

(75 PA Cons Stat §§3742—3745): Leaving the scene of an accident before the police arrive is a similar offense to failing to stop. These offenses are also called hit and runs or hit-skips. Depending on whether you only caused property damage, injuries, or fatalities, you will face a summary offense, misdemeanor, or felony.

Our traffic ticket lawyers can also help with:

You never have to handle a traffic ticket or serious offense alone—and you shouldn’t. The best strategy is to call a traffic lawyer right away to discuss the facts of your case.

our awards & memberships

  • A professional non-profit dedicated to the improvement of the criminal defense bar, and to providing valuable information to the public about drunk driving laws. Members of the NCDD are considered the most experienced DUI defense attorneys in the United States and Canada.

  • The preeminent organization in the United States. NACDL serves as a leader in identifying and reforming flaws in the criminal justice system, and addressing systemic racism, and ensuring that the criminal defense bar is fully equipped to serve all accused persons at the highest level.

  • PACDL is the premier network of the best defense attorneys in PA with a mission to educate, advocate, and inspire by providing support for criminal defense lawyers, promoting effective competence, leveling the playing field, and protecting freedoms.

  • The Pennsylvania Bar Association promotes and protects the legal profession, the rights of Pennsylvania citizens and access to justice for all. Membership is open to any lawyer in good standing who is licensed by the Bar of Pennsylvania.

  • The American Bar Association is one of the world’s largest voluntary professional organizations, with over 400,000 members and more than 3,500 entities. Their mission is to serve its members, the legal profession, and the public by defending liberty and delivering justice as the national representative of the legal profession.

  • The CCBA promotes professionalism, inclusion, and collegiality within the Chester County legal profession, and enhances the quality of life of its members and the practice of law within the community.

  • The NORML Legal Committee (NLC) is composed of attorneys committed to the overall goals of NORML. NLC attorneys meet each year to discuss emerging legal issues related to defense of marijuana consumers and to support each other in the pursuit of justice.

  • The American Institute’s Criminal Law Division is an impartial third-party rating service recognizing the excellence of fellow practitioners. To help clients across the United States make educated decisions, we compile an exclusive list of the “10 Best” Attorneys for each State. Our “10 Best” is a prestigious honor extended only to those who have reached the top of their profession while doing so with the client’s satisfaction being of paramount importance.

  • The American Institute’s DUI/DWI Division recognizes the excellence of practitioners in the field of DUI/DWI defense. We compile an exclusive list of the “10 Best” Attorneys for each State for potential clients to utilize. We look for Attorneys that have achieved unparalleled success but most importantly have done so for the benefit of their client. Very few Attorneys can do so and our organization recognizes this significant achievement.

  • Attorney Michael Skinner has been consistently recognized as among the best lawyers in Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. Attorneys are nominated via peer balloting, then vetted through our editorial process in various fields of practice.

  • The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state. Membership is extended only to the most qualified attorneys who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and public profile. Each of our distinguished members possesses the knowledge, skill, experience, and success held by only the best and finest lawyers in America.

  • The Super Lawyers list recognizes no more than 5 percent of attorneys in each state. The Rising Stars further distinguishes no more than 2.5 percent of attorneys, and to be eligible, a Rising Stars candidate must be either 40 years old or younger, or in practice for 10 years or less who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Penalties for Traffic Offenses in Pennsylvania

Traffic tickets in Pennsylvania can range from summary offenses, which are non-criminal citations, to felonies. Whatever the level, it is best to work with experienced lawyers that handle traffic tickets, who can explain the law and mitigate the possible penalties.

Summary Offense

Punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $300. (Fines may be greater based on specific traffic statutes and various court fees).

Third-Degree Misdemeanor/Ungraded Misdemeanor

Punishable by up to one year of incarceration and fines up to $2,000.

Second-Degree Misdemeanor

Punishable by up to two years in prison and fines up to $5,000.

First-degree Misdemeanor

Punishable by up to five years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Third-Degree Felony/Ungraded Felony

Punishable by up to seven years in prison and fines up to $15,000.

Second-Degree Felony

Punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.

First-Degree Felony

Punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.

Pennsylvania Driving Point System

Another potentially significant consequence of a traffic violation is receiving driver’s license points. For every moving violation on your record, points will be assessed to your driving record. Some tickets are as few as two points, but others can result in up to five. For example, speeding can be two, three, four, or five points depending on how fast you are going over the speed limit. Careless driving is three points, leaving an accident scene is four points, and failing to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights is five points.

If you accumulate six or more points, there are consequences:

  • If you are under 18 years old and hit six or more points, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) suspends your license for 90 days, the first time. If you reach six or more points again, the suspension is for 120 days.
  • When you are over 18 years old and reach six or more points, PennDOT requires you to complete a written examination that addresses your knowledge of safe driving practices, sanctions, and other safety issues. You must pass the test in 30 days, or your license is suspended until you pass the exam. If you ass within 30 days, PennDOT removes two points from your driving record.
  • If you reach six or more points a second time, you must attend a Departmental Hearing during which PennDOT examines your record and may recommend a 15-day license suspension, a special on-road driver’s exam, or no action. Failure to attend the hearing results in a 60-day license suspension.
  • If you reach six or more points a third time, you must attend a Departmental Hearing again. You may be required to go through a 30-day license suspension. If you fail to attend the hearing, your license is suspended until you do so.
  • If you accumulate 11 points or more, PennDOT automatically suspends your driver’s license for five, 10, or 15 days, depending on whether this is a first, second, or third suspension, respectively. If this is a fourth or subsequent suspension, PennDOT requires a one-year suspension.

Fortunately, points do not remain on your license forever. Every 12 consecutive months that you are not under a license suspension or revocation, and you do not commit another violation, PennDOT removes three points. Once all the points are gone, and you hit zero points on your record, any new points are regarded as the first accumulation of points. In other words, your old points are no longer held against you.

Higher Auto Insurance Rates

In addition to driver’s license points, fines, license suspension, and possibly incarceration, you can expect your auto insurance rates to increase. The more citations and points on your record, the more expensive your insurance coverage will be.

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Keeping/Getting Your License Back

If PennDOT sends you a letter regarding a driver’s license suspension or revocation, call a traffic lawyer as soon as possible. You can face a suspension for various reasons, including a suspected DUI, refusal to submit to a chemical test, or an accumulation of too many points. You can appeal a suspension in your Court of Common Pleas, but you must do so within 30 days of the mailing date of the notice.

A traffic ticket attorney can represent you at the administrative hearing. Attorney Michael J. Skinner will advocate for you to keep your license or to obtain an occupational limited license (OLL). An OLL allows you to drive for certain reasons, such as work or medical care.

If you complete your term of suspension or revocation, you have other steps to take to get your license back. You must pay a restoration fee. After this, your driving record will show five points.

Traffic Court in West Chester, PA

When you receive a traffic citation, you must respond to the magisterial district judge (this information is on the front of the citation) as either guilty or not guilty. When you plead not guilty, you must send in the signed citation and the collateral fee and court costs.

Then, you will receive a hearing notification by mail. You must attend the hearing, and it is best if you have a traffic lawyer to represent you by this date.

The magisterial district court your case goes to depends on where you are ticketed. There are 15 different magisterial districts in Chester County, PA. If you are ticketed in another county, your traffic case will go through one of that county’s district courts.

If you are ticketed in West Chester, your case goes to District Court 15-1-01 or District Court 15-1-04.

You and your attorney may be prepared to present your defense on the day of the hearing. However, your lawyer may need more time to gather information and prepare a thorough defense. In which case, your lawyer will ask the judge for a new hearing date.

Although you can represent yourself, we don’t recommend this. Traffic court follows strict protocols and without experience, a procedural mistake could harm your case. Contacting and hiring a Pennsylvania traffic violations lawyer can help you navigate this process.

Defending Against Traffic Tickets in Pennsylvania

There are several ways to defend against traffic tickets and serious moving violations. These strategies can either get you out of the ticket entirely or enable you to mitigate the consequences, like reducing the fine, limiting the points, or saving your license with the help of a traffic ticket lawyer.

Your traffic court attorney may argue:

  • Police Officer Error: There may be evidence to suggest the officer made a mistake when pulling you over and ticketing you. For example, various factors may have prevented the officer from noting your speed accurately. Visibility at night often plays into whether an officer really could have seen you commit the alleged violation.
  • Inaccurate Equipment: Your lawyer’s investigation may uncover that the equipment used to determine the offense was not properly maintained or calibrated. The results from the faulty equipment may be unreliable and inaccurate.
  • Discrimination/Unconstitutional Stop: There may be evidence that an officer stopped you based on that officer’s personal bias and not because you committed a traffic violation.
  • Unlawful Search and Seizure: We may be able to prove the evidence against you was obtained during an unconstitutional search and seizure, and the judge should rule this evidence as inadmissible.
  • Other Driver: You may be able to prove that someone else was driving your car at the time of the offense.
  • Emergency: You may have committed a traffic violation due to an emergency, such as rushing an injured person to the nearest emergency department for medical help.
  • Lack of Sufficient Evidence: To be convicted of a traffic offense, the prosecutor has the burden of proving you committed the offense. We may argue the prosecutor lacks sufficient evidence to do so.

Call a Traffic Offense Lawyer in Chester County

When an officer hands you a traffic citation or arrests you for a criminal traffic offense, you have options. You might be worried about being found guilty no matter what you do, but this is far from the truth. By working with a knowledgeable and aggressive traffic lawyer from Skinner Law Firm, you can determine what is best for you and your driving record. We handle traffic citations in and around Chester, County, PA and are committed to offering you the most effective defense strategy possible.

Talk with attorney Skinner about your ticket. It may save you time, money, and a lot of hassle. Call (610) 436-1410 today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.