Drivers who receive a traffic ticket in Pennsylvania for violating the state motor vehicle laws can avoid further fines and penalties by resolving the issue by the date displayed on their traffic citations. Note that PA traffic tickets can also have detrimental effects on your driving record and your car insurance rates. The processes of paying driving fines and fighting traffic tickets in PA may vary based on factors such as the practices of the presiding court and the type traffic violation that was committed. Learn how to fight traffic tickets and how to pay a ticket online in Pennsylvania in the sections below:
- Fighting a Pennsylvania ticket
- Paying a Pennsylvania ticket
- Lost tickets in Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania fines and penalties
- Points in Pennsylvania
- How tickets affect a Pennsylvania driver's license
- Pennsylvania car insurance fines and violations
Fighting a Pennsylvania Ticket
Fighting traffic tickets in Pennsylvania is a procedure that can be initiated by submitting a "not guilty" plea to the court that is processing your traffic citation. Depending on the practices of the presiding court, you may be able to submit your plea and schedule a trial date via various methods. For instance, certain courts may allow to initiate the process to dispute traffic tickets in PA via their official websites. Also, drivers who choose to challenge speeding tickets or other types of citations through the state court system are generally required to remit their traffic fine amount as collateral. Because navigating the court system can be challenging, it is usually best to seek the aid of an experienced lawyer who specializes in traffic tickets. You can be matched with a traffic ticket attorney easily by providing a few details about your ticket and sending in a picture of the ticket itself.
On the day of your traffic citation trial, you will be given the opportunity to present your PA traffic ticket defense. If you fail to appear at the court on the scheduled date, the judge will still hold the trial in your absence, and you are at risk of receiving a guilty verdict. The presiding judicial officer will rule on your PA traffic citation case after hearing your case and the case of the state prosecutor. If you are found guilty, the court will keep the paid collateral and the conviction will be reported on your driver's record, which may lead to increased car liability insurance rates. Courts dismiss traffic tickets in PA only if the driver is able to prove his or her innocence.
Paying a Pennsylvania Ticket
Motorists who decide to settle a Pennsylvania traffic ticket issue by providing their traffic tickets payments are effectively declaring their guilt. Paying traffic tickets online in PA is the most convenient method of providing the due payments. However, not all courts accept online payments. Drivers can still pay driving tickets in such circumstances via more conventional methods such as in person or by mail. To learn more about how and where to pay traffic tickets in Pennsylvania, visit the "How to Pay Traffic Tickets" page.
Note: Certain state courts may even allow you to pay the PA traffic fine with a monthly payment plan.
Lost Tickets in Pennsylvania
Drivers who lose their Pennsylvania traffic citations may encounter certain difficulties when paying or contesting a traffic ticket within the state, as the ticket contains details which help you to respond to your citation on time. Certain courts provide online traffic ticket search options. If you are unable to retrieve your citation information via the internet, you can still do so by contacting the court that is processing your case.
Pennsylvania Fines and Penalties
Drivers who cannot successfully challenge speeding tickets in Pennsylvania or other types of citations will be required to pay their PA traffic violation fine in order to settle the issue. The fine amount generally varies based on the nature of the offense. Review several offenses that lead to traffic tickets in PA and the resulting fine penalties in the following list:
- Failure to secure your child in an adequate restraint system: $75
- Speeding 35 mph over the posted limit: $95
- First offense of driving with a BAC level of .08 to .10 percent: $300
In addition to the base traffic fine associated with your ticket, you will also be required to pay additional court-set costs and surcharges. Depending on the severity of the committed traffic violation, for instance, drivers will also be required to pay an additional surcharge that ranges from $30 to $300, which is deposited into the state General Fund. If you would prefer not to pay these fines, you may be able to have them dismissed, but you will first need to enter a plea of not guilty and hire a legal representative who can help you argue your case. Experienced legal representatives specializing in traffic ticket defense are available for hire online.
Points in Pennsylvania
Motorists who are unable to beat a traffic ticket in Pennsylvania generally incur a certain amount of demerit points on their driving transcripts when the court reports the conviction to the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT). The severity of the PA traffic violation determines the resulting number of accumulated points. Review several offenses punishable by traffic citations in PA and their corresponding point penalties in the following list:
- Failure to yield to a pedestrian on a crosswalk: 2 points.
- Failure to stop before a red light: 3 points.
- Leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in property damages: 4 points.
- Failure to stop for a parked school bus: 5 points.
Note: While the state DOT does not currently offer the option of reducing your total point count by completing an approved defensive driving course, you can still do so in order to receive a discount on your vehicle insurance rates.
How Tickets Affect a Pennsylvania Drivers License
Since convictions of traffic violations in Pennsylvania lead to the accumulation of penalty points, drivers who receive multiple traffic tickets may be at risk of a license suspension. Drivers who accrue six points on their records for the first time, for instance, will be given the option to take a special written exam in lieu of a driving license suspension. Habitual offenders who receive PA traffic citations that lead to the accumulation of six points for the second time, on the other hand, will be required to attend a departmental hearing. In such cases, the hearing officer may either allow you to avoid a suspension by passing an exam or he or she will suspend your driving privileges. Note that certain more serious traffic violations, such as reckless driving, fleeing from a police officer or driving under the influence of intoxicants, lead to immediate license revocations or suspensions.
Pennsylvania Car Insurance Fines and Violations
Police officers may also issue Pennsylvania traffic tickets to drivers who operate their vehicle without the proper car liability insurance coverage. Motorists who have received traffic fines in PA for no-insurance infractions are subject to immediate driving license suspensions. In such cases, you can restore your credential by presenting the necessary proof of insurance and fee payments after completing your suspension penalty.
Note: Pennsylvania automobile insurance providers may also increase the insurance premiums of drivers who commit multiple traffic violations within the state