What to do if you get a Traffic Ticket in Pennsylvania
There is never a good time to receive any kind of traffic ticket. It will hurt your pocket book along with the possibility of a spike in your insurance premiums. If you have too many points on your license, you just might not be able to drive for a while.
If you were unfortunate as to receive traffic tickets in Pennsylvania, there are some options that could lessen the damage of such a citation. Let’s take a look at what Pennsylvania choices you have.
Is a Court Appearance Required?
Court appearances are not required for minor traffic infractions. Make sure though, you read over your ticket carefully to be sure that your particular citation is indeed a minor violation. Most court mandated offences are reserved for those who commit serious infractions like DUI’s, driving without a valid license, and leaving the scene of an accident before authorities arrive.
Option 1 – Pay Your Ticket
In choosing this option, you acknowledge your guilt and wave your right to go before a judge. You will need to make a check mark in the first box on the ticket and send it in within the allotted time.
There will be points added to your driver’s license and points vary from 2 to five depending on the severity of the infraction. Keep in mind, if your already have points on your license, you may want to check to see how many points are already there so you don’t lose your right to drive.
Paying your Pennsylvania traffic tickets can be done three different ways.
- You can pay in person
- Pay online
- Pay by mail
Make sure that you pay your ticket before the deadline on the citation or a bench warrant will be issued for you.
Option 2 – Plead Not Guilty and Request Trial
If circumstances do not allow you to pay your ticket, or you feel that you received an unfair ticket, you may want to challenge the citation. This needs to get to the court that issued the ticket in the time frame allotted by the Pennsylvania Courts. This is listed on the citation.
To submit a not guilty plea, make a check mark in the second box on the citation, date the citation, and make sure you sign it. Mail it to the court that is on the citation.
You will receive a response as to where to go, the date of your court appearance, and the time of your hearing.
Option 3 – Appeal Your Case
If you want to appeal your case, you have the choice of representing yourself or you can pay an attorney to represent you.
You also need to make sure that you tell the court of your decision. You can do this either mail, online, but most of the Pennsylvania courts want you to let them know in person.
If you chose to represent yourself, you will need to gather any evidence that would help your case such as printing out your driving record, and there is a possibility that you would need to interview and subpoena witnesses.
In hiring an attorney, you could have your chances improve in the reduction of the charges or there is a possibility of a total dismissal along with your insurance rates not rising and points not on your license.
The judge will listen to your side and the side of the officer that issued you the citation. He will find you either not guilty or guilty. If the judge finds you guilty, you will need to pay the fine and fees associated with the fine, court costs, and if you hired an attorney, attorney fees. The points will be assessed to your driver’s license.
If the judge finds you not guilty, there is a chance that you will only need to pay court costs, and if you hired an attorney, attorney fees.
If you don’t like the court’s decision, you may appeal the verdict within thirty days in the Common Pleas Court. There will be an additional fee attached.
Option 4 – Take an Online Defensive Driving Course
In Pennsylvania, the option to take a defensive driving course for dismissal of a traffic ticket or point deduction is taken away. There is no incentive in taking a defensive driving class except to improve your skills and make you more aware of the driving laws.
If you have received traffic tickets in Pennsylvania, the option to have any points removed from your license is to pass an ordered on-the-road or written test which will delete 2 points or if you keep a clear driver’s license for one year, that will remove 3 points.
The best way to make sure that you keep your license and the ability to drive anywhere is to make sure you abide by the laws of the road.