Feb 2, 2018

Probationary License Policy Changing

Probationary License Calculation Policy

We've been helping Pennsylvania drivers with extensive history qualify for the PA Probationary License for over 18 years. I can safely say my team knows every detail about this limited license option and we're good at catching and prevent mistakes and errors that cause a PL denial. A Probationary License can be a bit more tricky than a normal driver's license application in Pennsylvania. There are a number of calculations that need to be made to determine if and when you would qualify - and PennDOT refuses to tell drivers any details other than the standard "You can apply to find out" line.

PennDOT Changing Policy on Probationary License

This week we encountered a new issue....the changing internal policy. All these years PennDOT did not count certain violations toward your total number of violations as part of determining your minimum suspension. Two of those violations are the drug charge (13a31) and the old vehicle code DUI (3731) - so anytime those violations were on your driving record they did not count toward the minimum suspension. Until this week. Now we're being told these two violations do count - and when they cause a driver to cross into a new tier of active term suspensions, this driver must wait additional time.

We have a client who submitted an application for a Probationary License based on the policy that has been in place for more than 10 years, and this driver was told they must wait an additional year.

No Recourse For Improperly Calculated Probationary License

This means this client was not denied a Probationary License - only delayed and PennDOT will NOT allow an administrative hearing to determine if their new policy is proper.

There have been dozens of PL applications completed and PL licenses issued based on the prior policy. There are drivers who are waiting to apply for the PL as their last resort who may believe they are eligible - only to find out they must wait longer and they have no recourse.

The standard procedure would have been to request an Administrative Hearing and ask a hearing officer to clarify the calculations used to determine the eligibility date. We were told that PennDOT will not assign a hearing because technically our client's Probationary License application was not denied. The client was only told they must wait longer to apply and be granted the limited license. More ridiculous behavior from PennDOT - building barriers to customer service and continuing to believe that keeping people suspended prolongs their usefulness.

Don't Be Afraid To Get Help - Especially with the Probationary License

Because of these shifting sands of PennDOT policy - and changing staff with different views and absolute power, don't hesitate to get help when applying or petitioning PennDOT. The years of experience and research mean that there are none better at understanding the details that make a difference between driving and remaining suspended.

Contact Me.

Jan 29, 2018

2018 Goal To Bicycle To Work

2018 Goal to ride my bicycle to work.

I tell a lot of my clients I understand the frustrations of fighting with PennDOT to get restored. I really do know a lot about the pain of being stuck in the Suspension Snowball...the anger of getting bad information or even lied to by a PennDOT employee....and most of the time I share the anguish along with the many who call my office looking for help. I've heard a lot in over 17 years of fighting for drivers in Pennsylvania and I want to learn more.

Often it isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the little pebble in your shoe. -Muhammad Ali

I've set a few goals for 2018 to change my perspective on my client's struggles. The first of this set of goals is to ride to work by bicycle - With May 2018 set as Bike Month - there is a bike to work week scheduled for May 14th - 18th and bike to work day is May 18th, 2018.

About Me - The Challenge Ahead

I've got some challenges facing me on this goal. I started from a point of being out of shape and spending most of my time behind a computer screen and a phone. My position required I spend most of my time punching a keyboard doing research, sending emails, answering your questions and trying to get others to understand the effects of license suspension for the many who call or email me. Needless to say, I had a long road ahead.

A quick search of Google Maps showed I had a choice of routes to the License Restoration Services office in Broomall. It would be around 7 to 10 miles with a few moderate hills. The physical route was a concern with only the choice of a bigger hill or longer route. Then I had to factor in traffic....ugh!

The route would take me down some roads with heavy vehicle traffic and through one very non-bike friendly intersection at routes 320 and route 1. This overpass to route 1 is tricky to navigate by car and I can't imagine what a bike commuter would encounter.

I jumped in and purchased a used bike....cheap!

Old Nishiki Mountian Bike - For Commuting?
See, as glamorous as it may seem to be "The License Guy" it has not caused me to join the 1% club. I don't have much to trickle down and my family is on a budget. Combine that with my prior history of starting a hobby and finding my interest faded quickly....it seemed a sound option to get in cheap if possible.

I visited an estate auction and found an old mountain bike that looked cool. Figured I need to start somewhere and threw my hand in the air for $25 toward the auctioneer...gavel down and a bike was purchased. All the major bits seemed to work for a cycling rookie. I took it to a good friend who gave it a once over to make sure it was at least safe...and hopefully reliable. It passed the safety test...the reliable part had me worried. And in August I rode a bike (seriously) for the first time since I was in my early teens.

I'll spare you the details...it was not pretty...but it was a start. I had a long way to go before I even thought about getting to work by bike. But I was riding.

Time for a bike upgrade

The reliability part bit me pretty good and the Nishiki no longer had full use of all its gears. This was a major bummer. I had to go shopping for something reliable. I decided a new bike was a good investment at this point seeing as how I've been out regularly and had an idea of what I needed to meet my goals. Off to the local bike shop I went...picked up a nice new Trek FX series bike for a very modest investment.

New Trek FX - Commuter Bike
It was at this point I started to feel comfortable out on the road. I joined a tracking app Strava to record my rides and keep track of progress. When winter hit I got hold of an indoor trainer and hooked up to Zwift to ride virtually with friends. It's all been going well and I feel confident I'm going to make this goal to ride to work in 2018.

I've made it past the creaky out of shape joints and old muscles are starting to come alive...and scream at me when I push a little too hard. The miles are starting to tally up and experience is growing and bringing out my confidence. It's still a bit nerve-racking.

Other logistical issues and sweaty backs.

Last month the county turned 3/4 of my ride into bike laned roads. So my jaunt up route 320 will feel just a bit more comfortable. What won't feel as comfortable is the sweat that comes from the effort to get up those hills and around those cars. I've gotta make sure I have some supplies at work. Some wipes to clean up, proper work attire, and a pair of shoes to complete the outfit. All these things I don't want to be in my backpack, weighing me down and overheating my back.

At some point, I'll need to get a rack to carry my books, files, notes, and stuff with me. With the right planning, I can probably avoid this for now, at least until I'm a bit more comfortable with the commute. I'm starting to see why with only a bicycle as transportation some employers would shy away from hiring a bike commuter.

This is not the end of the story.

I realize no matter how often I choose to ride to work it won't be the same as those of you who are forced to use only a bicycle to get around. I know I have the easy backup of a car waiting for me if the weather is not in my favor. I know my grind is not exactly the same...but I hope it gives me that different perspective so when I talk to you and you tell me how important it is that you get back behind the wheel of a car...I can understand just a little more and work a little harder to make it happen.

If you ride regularly for work, school, or just errands....tell me about it. What hurdles have you overcome to make it work for you? Got any tips or tricks to help me through this one?

Dec 20, 2017

With 2018 around the corner It's time to check your PA Driving Record

Mistakes on Pennsylvania Driving Records Happen!

Every year we see a great many clients who have some error on their driving record that turns into serious issues like restoration fees and even driver's license suspension. It could be a simple mistake like a misspelled address, or the wrong middle initial. Sometimes these mistakes can be more serious like a ticket belonging to someone else, or mistaken calculation of suspension time.

Even the minor issues can jump up to bit you and cause major headaches and even lead to getting stuck in the Suspension Snowball!

A mistake can be serious and cause a license suspension

A mistake in your address could prevent you from getting a notice from PennDOT - that leads to a license suspension for failing to respond - that leads to being stopped driving with a suspended license you never knew about and adding years of suspension to your record.

An error with your name could lead to tickets and violations added to your record that actually belong to someone else. This starts a chain reaction of events that will ultimately lead to your license being suspended and you will be required to serve that PA license suspension.

How to prevent errors on your PA Driving Record

We suggest that you check your driving record once a year to ensure there is nothing added and the information contained is correct. If there is an error it is much easier to correct before everything else is piling on you causing these bigger issues and license suspension.

There are a few suggested ways to request your driving record...in all cases make sure you are requesting your FULL Driving History (not the 3-year or 10-year record)

Request your PA Driving Record

1) Go online to PennDOT - https://www.dot4.state.pa.us/driver_services/driverrecord.jsp
PennDOT charges $10 to request your record this way and you will be able to instantly view and save a copy.

2) Visit your local Online Messenger Service / Tag Store / Notary
These services may be "online" with PennDOT and they are able to pull your record instantly. They do charge a fee for their service and you should expect it to be slightly more than $10.

3) Mail your request to PennDOT with the $10 using the Driver Information Request Form. This form requires some time for PennDOT to process and mail back to you.

A few other records you can request with this form DL-503

Documents Available:
• Citations • Ignition Interlock Removal Letter
• Court Certifications • Suspension/Revocation Letters
• Applications • Restoration Letters
• License Renewals • Rescind Letters
• Judgments • Department Hearing or Exam Notice
• Suspension Credit Affidavits

However you choose to request your Full Driver History...just make sure you do it...just as you've been told you should regularly check your credit report for mistakes and errors....your driving record can have an even greater impact on you if you don't take care of it regularly.

If you find Driver Record Errors or your PA License is Suspended

You can contact me at License Restoration Services Inc for help with PA license issues. We can find and fix errors and we constantly work to remove and reduce suspension time to get you out from under that Suspension Snowball. Finding errors does not mean you are stuck, so make sure you know we are here to help.
PA License Suspension Help

Have a happy and safe 2018!

Dec 15, 2016

Incorrect Address of Record - No Suspension Credit Given

Incorrect Address of Record - No Suspension Credit Given

The Department has no authority to change an address absent a request by an individual to do so. 
Even in cases when the department has an incorrect "Address of Record" and an individual has no notice of suspension or their requirements to acknowledge the suspension by surrendering a Pennsylvania License or the DL-16 Acknowledgement of Suspension form.

Absent such notification of a change of address, it was neither unreasonable nor improper for the [Department] to rely upon the address officially listed in its records. . . ., despite a contrary address appearing on the citation. . . .Otherwise, section 1515 of the Code, 75 Pa. C.S. §1515, would be rendered ineffective. Moreover, to conclude differently might compel [the Department] to act contrary to a statutory directive that it issue written notices of suspension or revocation of operating privileges to persons at their address of record. 

An individual filed a request for a hearing to seek credit towards his suspension from the date that he pled guilty to his underage alcohol offenses. This individual argues that he did not receive any of the Department's notices of suspension as he was never a true Pennsylvania resident and only here for school. These notices were sent to an incorrect address of record. Even though PennDOT was incorrect in assigning an address of record causing this individual to have no idea about the acknowledgment requirements, no credit toward suspension time was given.

· In the case of an unlicensed individual no credit towards suspension may be earned until an acknowledgment of suspension is submitted to the Department, 75 Pa. C.S. §1541(a).

Like a ketchup bottle, the suspension clock is NOT running.

Department of Transportation v. Cern, 604 A. 2d 1135 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1992).

John CERN, III, Appellee. 

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. 

Argued November 22, 1991. 

Decided February 24, 1992. 

Before COLINS and KELLEY, JJ., and BARBIERI, Senior Judge. 

BARBIERI, Senior Judge. 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing (DOT) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County (common pleas court) which sustained the appeal of John Cern, III (Cern), from a five-year revocation of his operating privilege within Pennsylvania imposed by DOT pursuant to Section 1542 of the Vehicle Code (Code), 75 Pa.C.S. § 1542.[1] We will reverse. 

On March 1, 1985 and, again, on April 25, 1985, Cern, while a Pennsylvania resident with a Pennsylvania driver's license, committed two offenses enumerated in Section 1542 of the Code for which he accepted Accelerative Rehabilitative Dispositions (ARDs).[2] Prior to committing his third offense on January 17, 1990, Cern moved to New Jersey and surrendered his Pennsylvania driver's license to New Jersey authorities in order to secure a valid New Jersey driver's license.[3] 

In June 1990, DOT advised Cern by official notice that his driving privileges were scheduled to be revoked for five years pursuant to Section 1542(a) of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1542(a). This official notice was sent to Cern's former Pennsylvania address which was the only address listed for Cern in DOT's records.[4] 

Cern timely appealed DOT's revocation of his driving privileges and, after de novo hearing, the common pleas court sustained his appeal, stating: 

At the time of the hearing this Court examined the official notice sent to the Appellee [Cern]. As previously stated[,] this notice (sent by Pennsylvania) was sent to Appellee at his old address in Pennsylvania. The citation clearly shows his address to be Trenton[,] New Jersey[,] so that the State of Pennsylvania was on notice that the Appellee was no longer a resident. Additionally, there can be no question that Pennsylvania authorities have no power to revoke or suspend a driver's license issued by a sister State, here New Jersey. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing v. Bender, 107 Pa.Cmwlth. 475, 529 A.2d 44 (1987). The notice asks him to return his driver's license to the Bureau. The Appellee had already complied with the requirements of the notice, he had already surrendered his Pennsylvania license. Department of Transportation v. Cern 9 Pa.D. & C. ___, 175, 177-78 (1991) (emphasis in original).[5] It is from this determination that DOT filed the instant appeal. 

Two issues are before us for disposition: (1) whether DOT has the power and authority to revoke the operating privilege of a nonresident motorist as a habitual offender for offenses committed in Pennsylvania and (2) whether a motorist's act of surrendering a Pennsylvania driver's license to another jurisdiction in order to secure a driver's license from that other jurisdiction insulates the motorist from revocation of his or her Pennsylvania operating privilege upon conviction of offenses committed in Pennsylvania which mandate revocation of the motorist's Pennsylvania operating privilege. This court's scope of review, of course, includes questions of law. McGhee v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 85 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. 310, 481 A.2d 1237 (1984), appeal dismissed as having been improvidently granted, 510 Pa. 488, 509 A.2d 1255 (1986). 

Pursuant to Section 1546(a) of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1546(a), "[t]he privilege of driving a motor vehicle on the highways of this Commonwealth given to a nonresident shall be subject to suspension or revocation by the department in like manner and for like cause as a resident's operating privilege." This section has been previously applied by this court to uphold suspensions of nonresident motorists' driving privileges within Pennsylvania pursuant to Sections 1547 and 1539 of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. §§ 1547, 1539. 

In Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing v. Bender, a nonresident motorist's driving privilege within Pennsylvania was suspended by DOT pursuant to Section 1547 of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1547, for failure to submit to chemical testing. On appeal, we stated: 

There can be no question that Pennsylvania authorities have no power to revoke or suspend a driver's license issued by a sister state, here New Jersey. That lack of authority is recognized by Section 1546 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1546, that provides that a nonresident's privilege to drive a motor vehicle in this Commonwealth is subject to suspension in the same manner as that of a resident. See McGhee v. Commonwealth, 85 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. 310, 481 A.2d 1237 (1984), appeal dismissed, 510 [Pa.] 488, 509 A.2d 1255 (1986). Therefore, while the Bureau could not suspend Bender's New Jersey driver's license, it could suspend his driving privileges within this Commonwealth for a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer. 

Bender, 107 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. 475, 480-481, 529 A.2d 44, 46 (1987), reversed on other grounds, 522 Pa. 104, 560 A.2d 123 (1989) (emphasis added). 

Likewise, in McGhee, this court held that DOT could suspend a nonresident motorist's operating privilege within Pennsylvania as a "second time" offender pursuant to Section 1539 of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1539.[6] 

Judge Blatt, speaking for this court, reasoned as follows: 

Section 1535(a) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1535(a) provides, in part, that: A point system for driver education and control is hereby established which is related to other provisions for use, suspension and revocation of the operating privilege as specified under this title. Every driver licensed in this Commonwealth who is convicted of any of the following offenses shall be assessed points as of the date of violation.... (Emphasis added.) The appellant would have us limit the assessment of points to drivers currently licensed in this Commonwealth. Section 1546(a) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1546(a) empowers DOT to suspend or to revoke the `privilege of driving a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth given to a non-resident ... in like manner and for like cause as a resident's operating privilege.' Id. While a non-resident is exempt from the licensing requirements of the Vehicle Code under 75 Pa.C.S. § 1502(3), we believe that, when Sections 1535(a) and 1546(a) are read in pari materia, it is clear that a non-resident is exempt from neither the assessment of penalty points nor any consequent suspension of his operating privileges if he abuses such privileges while driving in Pennsylvania. 

Id. 85 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. at 312-313, 481 A.2d at 1238 (emphasis in original). 

Finding no reasonable basis upon which to distinguish the instant case from Bender and McGhee, we conclude that DOT, by virtue of Section 1546(a) of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1546(a), could revoke Cern's operating privilege within Pennsylvania as a habitual offender for offenses he committed in this Commonwealth pursuant to Section 1542 of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1542. 

Cern argues, however, that DOT lacked the authority to act under Section 1542 because the record contains no evidence to indicate that DOT maintains the records referred to in Section 1542 for nonresident motorists and, thus, application of habitual offender status to him is not supported. We disagree. 

DOT is clearly required by law to maintain the types of records referred to in Section 1542 for all drivers. See Sections 1531, 6322, 6323 and 6325 of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. §§ 1531, 6322, 6323, 6325.[7] A prima facie presumption exists, until the contrary appears, that DOT has acted according to law.[8] The record here contains nothing to rebut this presumption. 
Regarding the second issue, we initially note that the terms, driver's license and operating privilege, are not interchangeable under the Code.[9] Section 1542, pursuant to which DOT acted here, applies only to operating privileges. The notice of revocation issued to Cern by DOT clearly states that Cern's "driving privileges [were] being revoked for a period of 5 years as mandated by Section 1542 A of the Vehicle Code." (Emphasis added.) Accordingly, it was not Cern's driver's license that DOT acted to revoke and therefore his act of surrendering his Pennsylvania driver's license to New Jersey authorities in order to secure a valid New Jersey driver's license would not insulate him from revocation of his operating privilege within Pennsylvania.[10] 

Cern argues, however, that DOT was, in fact, acting to revoke his New Jersey driver's license because the notice of revocation also directed him to relinquish his driver's license: "In order to comply with this suspension/revocation, you are required to return any driver's license ... in your possession ... Credit will not begin until license is received by Bureau." It is this language upon which the common pleas court apparently based its statements "that Pennsylvania authorities have no power to revoke or suspend a driver's license issued by a sister State, here New Jersey" and that "[Cern] had already complied with the requirements of the notice [because] he had already surrendered his Pennsylvania license." At 178 (emphasis in original).[11] 

As noted by the common pleas court, "this notice ... was sent to [Cern] at his old address in Pennsylvania." At 177. Obviously, DOT viewed Cern as a Pennsylvania resident and, accordingly, sent him a notice of revocation intended for resident motorists.[12] 

Clearly, a notice of revocation of driving privileges can only be sent to a motorist's last known address. Here, Cern's last known address as recorded in DOT's official files was his former Pennsylvania address. 

Cern, of course, bore the responsibility of informing DOT of his change of address pursuant to Section 1515 of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1515,[13] but there is nothing in the record to indicate that he did so.[14] Absent such notification of a change of address, it was neither unreasonable nor improper for DOT to rely upon the address officially listed in its records as Cern's last known address, despite a contrary address on the citation issued to Cern for his third offense.[15] Otherwise, Section 1515 of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1515, would be rendered ineffective. Moreover, to conclude differently might compel DOT to act contrary to a statutory directive that it issue written notices of suspension or revocation of operating privileges to persons at their addresses of record. See n. 12. 

For the foregoing reasons, we will reverse the order of the common pleas court and reinstate the five-year revocation of Cern's Pennsylvania operating privilege imposed by DOT.[16] 

KELLEY, J., dissents. 

AND NOW, this 24th day of February, 1992, the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, dated January 17, 1991, at No. 90-006184-19-1, is hereby reversed and the five-year revocation of the operating privilege of John Cern, III, within Pennsylvania imposed by DOT pursuant to Section 1542 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1542, is reinstated. 

[1] § 1542. Revocation of habitual offender's license 

(a) General rule. — The department shall revoke the operating privilege of any person found to be a habitual offender pursuant to the provisions of this section. A `habitual offender' shall be any person whose driving record, as maintained in the department, shows that such person has accumulated the requisite number of convictions for the separate and distinct offenses described and enumerated in subsection (b) committed after the effective date of this title [Title 75] and within any period of five years thereafter.
(b) Offenses enumerated. — Three convictions arising from separate acts of any one or more of the following offenses committed either singularly or in combination by any person shall result in such person being designated as a habitual offender: 

(1) Any offense set forth in section 1532 (relating to revocation or suspension of operating privilege). 


(c) Accelerative Rehabilitative Disposition as an offense. — Acceptance of Accelerative Rehabilitative Disposition for any offense enumerated in subsection (b) shall be considered an offense for the purposes of this section. 

(d) Period of revocation. — The operating privilege of any person found to be a habitual offender under the provisions of this section shall be revoked by the department for a period of five years. (Emphasis added.) Here, the record indicates that Cern was convicted twice under Section 3731 of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3731, for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and once under Section 3733 of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3733, for fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer. Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer are offenses set forth in Section 1532 of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1532. The record likewise indicates that these offenses were committed within a five-year period. The dates the offenses were committed are, of course, the relevant dates in making this determination. Sanders v. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety, 89 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. 609, 493 A.2d 794 (1985). 

[2] Acceptance of ARD constitutes an offense for purposes of determining habitual offender status. Section 1542(c) of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1542(c); Brophy v. Department of Transportation, 94 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. 310, 503 A.2d 1010 (1986). 

[3] The record indicates that Cern applied for a New Jersey driver's license on January 12, 1990. A receipt therefor, marked paid but not dated, indicates an expiration date for Cern's New Jersey driver's license as being January 31, 1994; not January 12, 1994. This leads us to question whether Cern, in fact, was in possession of a valid New Jersey driver's license at the time of his third offense on January 17, 1990. This issue, however, has not been raised. Accordingly, for purposes of this appeal, we will treat Cern as possessing a valid New Jersey driver's license at the time of his third offense on January 17, 1990. 

[4] The citation issued to Cern for his third offense, however, noted a New Jersey address. 

[5] This opinion was written in support of the order filed by the common pleas court on January 17, 1991. Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a). 

[6] McGhee's operating privilege within Pennsylvania was suspended when he accumulated 11 points. After expiration of this suspension, three points were deducted from his point total. He then moved to West Virginia where he surrendered his Pennsylvania driver's license in order to secure a valid West Virginia driver's license. Thereafter, he was convicted for speeding in Pennsylvania which brought his total point accumulation to 11 for the second time. 

[7] Section 1531 directs DOT to "administer an integrated system limited to the authority granted to [it] in [Title 75] for revocation and suspension of operating privileges and for driver education, testing and control and for this purpose shall maintain a record as to every driver of convictions of offenses set forth in [Title 75] and such other convictions and offenses as are punishable by suspension or revocation under [Title 75]." (Emphasis added.) Sections 6322-6323 ensure DOT's receipt of records of all judgments of conviction, acquittal or other disposition of charges under any of the provisions of Title 75. Section 6325 requires DOT to "file all reports and records received under the provisions of [Subchapter B of Chapter 63 of Title 75]" and to "maintain suitable records or facsimiles of the records." (Emphasis added.) 

[8] See, e.g., McIntosh Road Materials Co. v. Woolworth, 365 Pa. 190, 74 A.2d 384 (1950); Erie City v. Piece of Land, 308 Pa. 454, 162 A. 445 (1932); Mignatti Contruction Co. v. Environmental Hearing Board, 49 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. 497, 411 A.2d 860 (1980); Fox v. Pennsylvania Securities Commission, 17 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. 72, 328 A.2d 573 (1974). 

[9] These terms are defined as follows in Section 102 of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 102: 

`Driver's license.' A license or permit to drive a motor vehicle issued under [Title 75]. 


`Operating privilege.' The privilege to apply for and obtain a license to use as well as the privilege to use a vehicle on a highway as authorized in [Title 75], but not a contract, property right or civil right. 

[10] Under the Code, the act of surrendering a driver's license relates to the issue of credit which is determined as of the date a resident motorist surrenders his or her driver's license. See Section 1541(a) of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1541(a). 

[11] As noted above, the act of surrendering a driver's license relates to the issue of credit which is a determination to be made by DOT in the first instance. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing v. Cardell, 130 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. 516, 568 A.2d 999 (1990). 

[12] Section 1540(b) of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1540(b), directs DOT, upon the revocation of a person's operating privilege, to notify that person in writing at the address of record to surrender his or her driver's license to DOT for the term of the revocation. Section 1541(a) of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1541(a), explains that the period of revocation "shall commence as provided for in section 1540 (relating to surrender of license)" and that "[a] nonresident licensed driver ... shall submit an acknowledgment of ... revocation to [DOT] in lieu of a driver's license." 

[13] Section 1515 states in relevant part that "[w]henever any person after ... receiving a driver's license moves from the address named... in the driver's license issued ... such person shall, within 15 days thereafter, notify the department in writing of the old and new addresses ..." (Emphasis added.) 

[14] We note in passing that there is also no evidence of record that New Jersey notified Pennsylvania of Cern's change of address or even that New Jersey has a statutory policy similar to that of Pennsylvania, found in Section 1501(c) of the Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1501(c): "All surrendered licenses issued by another state shall be returned to that state, together with information that the person is licensed in this Commonwealth." 

[15] In Korell v. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing, 122 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. 96, 551 A.2d 398 (1988), petition for allowance of appeal denied, 525 Pa. 606, 575 A.2d 571 (1990), DOT mailed ten suspension and revocation notices to the appellant's old address. The appellant pointed out that his new address appeared on citations which were issued to him. This court stated: "although two of the many citations which were issued to Appellant appear to contain Appellant's new address, the fact remains that Appellant failed to notify DOT of his change of address as required by [Section 1515 of] the Vehicle Code." Id., 122 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. at 99, 551 A.2d at 400. 

[16] As previously noted, any credit determination must be made in the first instance by DOT. See n. 11. Such a determination here is, of course, complicated by Cern's noncompliance with Section 1515 which resulted in DOT treating him as a resident motorist who is required to surrender his driver's license in order to commence earning credit rather than as a nonresident motorist who is required to submit an acknowledgment of revocation in lieu of a driver's license. 

Apr 14, 2015

Can I drive a 50cc scooter with a suspended license?

Common emails:

I lost my drivers license for a few years because I had one DUI and was in the county jail on drug charges. I was not drinking or using drugs or even in a car when I was arrested and PennDOT added on suspensions. I spent 6 months in the County Jail, Pittsburgh, PA and 6 months in a drug rehab program. I was recently released.

I have been working for the past 9 months for a local restaurant, I go to community college at night and regularly attend doctor appointment, therapy and my group meetings. I only owe a few hundred in fines that I'm paying every month. I have to rely on our bus service which is terrible. They are cutting route's and eliminating services where sometimes I have to wait 1-2 hrs for a bus.

I want to find out what I need to do to get my restricted license. My mom was going to buy me a 49 cc scooter to get around. I heard in VA you don't have to register it, have insurance, or a valid driver's license to operate a scooter under 50cc in VA. But I don't know what the requirements are in PA. I believe you have to have a valid license now I'm really screwed. It's getting more and more difficult to get to work, school, therapy and doctors appointments. Let me know if you can help me.


Unfortunately the drug charge disqualifies you from getting a limited work license (OLL) in Pennsylvania. Even with your work and school requirements PennDOT will not grant the work license.

In Pennsylvania you must have a valid license to operate any motorized vehicle. Even scooters or mopeds under 50cc require a valid license.

Feb 25, 2015

Best Practices for Reducing Suspended and Revoked Drivers

Best Practices for Reducing Suspended and Revoked Drivers as discussed by the AAMVA

Using license suspension for non moving violations enforcement is not a good idea. This idea of holding a driving privilege only causes recidivism and keeps the offender from digging out of the Suspension Snowball.

Nov 13, 2014

Truck Driver Follows GPS To Reckless Driving Ticket

A truck driver in Milwaukee WI followed his GPS right onto a footbridge over a lake. The driver claims he was following the directions and accidentally drove onto a bridge designated for pedestrian traffic only.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office says that when the man drove his truck and 53-foot trailer onto the path on Tuesday afternoon, he damaged several trees, two bridges and concrete railings.

This guy could face serious trouble and penalties to his driver's license...especially his CDL.

Reckless driving is a serious violation that usually results in points, license suspension, and heavy fines.

Jul 24, 2014

It May Be Time To Check Your Driving Record

I advocate that it is a good idea to check your driving record once a year to make sure there are no errors or identity theft. Your driving record affects a number of areas in your life, and having even one error on your record can cause some major headaches.

Just a few of the issues you could face by not knowing about a driving record issue.

Car Insurance Rates
The number one factor to your insurance rate is your driving record. If your driving record contains one violation that should not be there you could be paying as much as DOUBLE your actual rate.

Your employer or future employer can check your driving record and they will use that information to determine who worthy you are for employment. A spotted record can be a sign of being irresponsible or even reckless! Employers won't take the risk of hiring you if you can't get to work or if you will put their insurance rates at risk.

Just imagine boarding an airplane and being told you can't use your license as an ID for boarding...because it is suspended. Having a blemish on your driving record could cause your license to be suspended and make your ID invalid.

Points Accumulation
Some violations in Pennsylvania carry points that are used to tract a driver and assess penalties like fines and license suspension ad different point levels. The only way to find out how many points are on your license would be to request a driving record and count the points or contact PennDOT.

By spending just a few moments and $8 with PennDOT you can download your driving record to make sue there are no issue. It is easy to do and worth a yearly investment.

You can find the PennDOT Driver Record Request page here;

May 22, 2014

Driverless Cars Not A Cure For Suspended License

The DMV has just issued regulations on driverless cars that prevent the unlicensed or those with a suspended driver's license from operating a driverless car. So autonomous automobiles are not going to be the savior for suspended drivers any time soon.

Nov 24, 2013

Philadelphia Parking Tickets PPA - Quick facts

I've written many times about the Philadelphia Parking Authority and their aggressive parking ticket policy. I've mentioned how hard a parking ticket can be, and we have heard stories of parking tickets being given to people who have never been to Philadelphia. We have even discussed the ability to fight Philly parking tickets online. But there are a few important things you need to know about parking tickets and your driver's license.

1) No matter how many parking tickets there is no impact on your driver's license. You can NOT get points or suspensions for getting a parking ticket.

2) A parking ticket in Philadelphia can now be fought online. The PPA had to make it easier to fight these tickets because of the number of out of area residents claiming they got mail because of a ticket issues in Philly...even when they had never been in the city.

3) Red light camera tickets are considered parking tickets and administered by the Philadelphia parking Authority. You can read a report regarding the amount of money being collected by red light cameras here.