Jan 4, 2012
Jail Time Possible For Serious Moving Violations & Traffic Tickets
Moving Violations and Traffic Tickets can result in much more than license suspension and fines. Jail time is a possibility with some "more serious" traffic and vehicle violations. I previously wrote about going to jail for driving under suspension violations.
75-7122 Altered, Forged or Counterfeit Plates and Documents. Asking about getting a work license or OLL in PA. Well this charge is an automatic disqualification for a PA Work License, and more importantly it is a very serious offence. PA Vehicle Code 75-7122 is graded as a M1 or misdemeanor level 1. This violation carries with it up to 5 years in prison, a criminal record, as well as a year of driver's license suspension without the availability of a limited license.
The license suspension should be secondary to to criminal penalties of the violation including the criminal record that goes along with this violation. So assuming that because most traffic tickets are summary offences, or very minor in the grand scheme, you have to be aware that there are some more serious issues that could arise. Some other violations that can lead to more panalties other than license suspension or points would be;
75- 3733 Fleeing or Eluding Police - Misdemeanor Level 2 - up to Felony 3
75- 3742 Accidents Involving Injury or Leaving the Scene - Misdemeanor 2 up to Felony 3
75- 3732 Homicide By Vehicle - Felony 3 AND 3 Years of License Suspension
This listing is not comprehensive, and are only a few off the top of my head. In these cases your best bet is to speak to an expert and find out all of the applicable penalties and options. As you can see from the limited examples above, there are some violations that carry very severe penalties, including jail for driving under suspension, and these violations should never be taken lightly.
To clarify, you need to understand the differences between a Summary Violation (most traffic tickets) a Misdemeanor (more serious violations - jail time) and the most serious Felony (usually mandatory jail time and increased fines and license suspension)
Under Pennsylvania Criminal Laws, all criminal offenses fall into the following classifications. There are Felonies with three tiers (Felony Tier 1, Felony Tier 2, Felony Tier 3), for which the maximum penalties are:
Felony Tier 1: Up to 20 years in prison
Felony Tier 2: Up to 10 years in prison
Felony Tier 3: Up to 7 years in prison.
There are also 3 Tiers of Misdemeanors (Misdemeanor Tier 1, Misdemeanor Tier 2, Misdemeanor Tier 3), for which the maximum penalties under PA law if found guilty, are:
Misdemeanor T1: Up to 5 years in prison
Misdemeanor T2: Up to 3 years in prison
Misdemeanor T3: Up to 1 year in prison
The lesser category is what is known as a summary offense. If you are found guilty of a summary offense, you face up to 90 days in jail as a maximum penalty for jail. There may be other monetary and suspension times that go with a conviction for a summary offense or traffic ticket.