If you are caught driving on a suspended license, you will likely be charged with either 1543(a) or 1543(b). Both charges are summary traffic citations; however, the penalties are very different.
A 1543(b) citation is an alcohol-related license suspension charge. Many defendants are surprised to find out that the charge carries mandatory jail time. An alcohol-related driver’s license suspension is a suspension that occurs after a DUI conviction. Typically, the DUI license suspension will last from 1 to 18 months depending on the charge and how many prior DUIs the driver has had.
Being charged with driving on a 1543(b) citation carries a mandatory period of incarceration of 60 to 90 days and a fine of not more than $500.00.
These penalties increase if the driver is found to have more than 0.02% alcohol or a controlled substance in his blood, or if he refuses a blood/breath test.
For a first offense, the penalties increase to 90 days in jail and a fine of not less than $1,000.00.
For a second offense, the penalties increase to a third-degree misdemeanor, 6 months in jail, and a fine of $2,500.00.
For a third offense, the penalties increase to a first-degree misdemeanor, 2 years in jail, and a fine of $5,000.00.
Additional Period of License Suspension
If convicted of a 1543(b) charge, the defendant will be required to undergo an additional period of license suspension. This suspension typically lasts 1 year; however, if the license was revoked at the time the driver was charged, the suspension will be a 2 year suspension.
A knowledgeable attorney may be able to negotiate a reduction or amendment to the charges to forgo the mandatory jail requirement and to lessen the fine and license suspension. To speak to an experienced Philadelphia 1543(b) traffic lawyer, contact Attorney Michael Niznik today for a free consultation.
A 1543(a) citation is charged in instances where a driver is alleged to be driving on a license which is suspended for non-alcohol related reasons. These reasons could include a point accumulation, excessive fines that have not been paid, or a license expiration that was not renewed - anything non-alcohol related. The penalty for this offense is a maximum fine of $200.00 and an additional license suspension. Subsequent penalties can result in steeper fines and license suspensions and 6 or more 1543(a) charges can result in mandatory jail time.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a driver's license-related citation, contact experienced traffic lawyer, Michael F. Niznik, today for a free consultation.