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The Penalty for Driving with a Suspended License in PA is Mandatory Jail Time in Many Cases


Many people know that a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) carries mandatory jail time in many cases. For instance, someone who drives with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level between .08% and .10% is guilty of DUI in Pennsylvania. If it is the person’s second offense, the law requires a minimum prison sentence of 5 days. For a third or fourth offense the law requires a minimum sentence of 10 days imprisonment.

However, many people are surprised to learn that in some cases the mandatory prison sentence is actually much higher for driving on a suspended license than for a second, third, or even fourth DUI offense. In Pennsylvania, Section 1543 of the Vehicle Code provides serious penalties for driving while your license is suspended.

If you are driving while your license is suspended for a DUI related arrest, the minimum sentence that a judge can impose is a $500 fine and 60 days in jail. That is the minimum penalty. And, the law does not require that you were convicted of DUI before. Even if you were admitted into an ARD program which does not result in a criminal conviction, the mandatory 60 days in jail applies to you. Plus, these penalties apply even if you were eligible to reinstate your license but did not go through the steps to reinstate it yet.

If you have a BAC of .02% while driving on a license that has been suspended for a DUI related allegation, the penalties are even stiffer.

  • For a first offense: a minimum of 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine
  • For a second offense: a minimum of 6 months in jail and $2,500 fine
  • For a first offense: a minimum of 2 years in jail and $5,000 fine

To put this in real world terms, a .02% BAC is one drink. For a woman who weighs 120 pounds it is one-half of a drink.

There are many hidden traps in the law. Even a summary traffic offense can carry significant periods of mandatory jail time. Don’t try to handle a complicated and situation without professional help. You can ask our attorneys questions about your case for free and with no obligation. Michael Parkinson, Timothy Tarpey, and Jim Lloyd are criminal defense attorneys and former Philadelphia Assistant District Attorneys with more than 40 years experience who have handled hundreds of traffic offenses and DUI cases. Talk to an experienced attorney before you face the possibility of imprisonment, loss of your license, and increased insurance rates.

If you or someone you know has questions regarding traffic offenses or issues in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, or Delaware Counties, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced attorney at (215) 352-3432.