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How to Restore Your Driver’s License in Pennsylvania

There are a number of reasons why a driver’s license may be suspended.  For example, maybe the driver was convicted of Driving Under the Influence charge; or, maybe a driver has too many points on his or her driver’s license; or maybe a driver has unpaid traffic tickets.  Whatever the reason may be, this Blog post will focus on the steps a driver needs to take in order to restore his or her driving privileges.

Two (2) Types of Driver’s License Suspensions

There are two (2) types of driver’s license suspensions in Pennsylvania.  In order to properly restore your driver’s license, it is important to first know what type of suspension you are currently serving.

The first type of driver’s license suspension is an indefinite term suspension.  Most drivers who have this type of suspension simply have unpaid fines or traffic tickets, or they failed to respond to a traffic ticket altogether.  The other reason for this type of a suspension could be because the driver did not fulfill one of their driving requirements.  For example, drivers who are convicted of a driving under the influence charge are required in Pennsylvania to complete a comprehensive drug and alcohol assessment, as well as alcohol highway safety school classes.  If the driver fails to complete these requirements, PENNDOT will issue an indefinite term suspension.

The second type of driver’s license suspension is a term suspension.  Under this type of license suspension, the driver is faced with a definitive period of time in which their driver’s license is suspended.  The reason for a term suspension is most commonly for some sort of motor vehicle code violation for which the driver was convicted of.  For example, if the driver was convicted of a driving under the influence charge or a reckless driving charge, the driver is facing a definitive period of time for which their license is suspended and until that time period has expired, the driver will not be able to restore their driver’s license.

Restoration Requirements Letter

Rather than speculate the reason for which a driver is serving a driver’s license suspension, the first thing a driver will need to do in order to restore his or her license is obtain a Restoration Requirements Letter.  A restoration requirements letter is an official legal document issued by PENNDOT which states why the driver’s license is suspended and the steps that need to be taken in order to restore it.  This document can be found by simply going to the PENNDOT website and clicking on Driver’s License Restoration Requirements Letter.  It should be noted that most commonly, the driver’s license is suspended for an indefinite term, and the restoration requirements letter will cite the exact reasons for the suspension and what steps the driver must take in order to restore their driver’s license.  Sometimes, however, the driver may find that their driver’s license is suspended pursuant to a term suspension due of a motor vehicle code violation.  In this instance, the driver must simply wait until the term period expires in order to restore their driver’s license.

Regarding an indefinite term suspension, there are many reasons for why a driver’s license is suspended.  Most commonly, though, a driver’s license is suspended for a Failure to Respond (“FTR”).  An FTR simply means that the driver failed to respond to a traffic citation that was previously issued against them.  Under the restoration requirements letter, PENNDOT will state the exact Court (location information given as well as phone number) that the failure to respond was issued out of, and all the driver will need to do is contact the Court in order to respond to the ticket and set-up a payment plan for any unpaid fines or court costs.  Once this is done, the Court in which the citation was issued will notify PENNDOT that the driver responded to the citation, and PENNDOT will in turn restore the driver’s license.

How the PENNDOT Point System Works

Another reason for why a driver’s license may be suspended for an indefinite term is because the driver may have exceeded the number of points allowed by PENNDOT.  PENNDOT has a Point System in place for when drivers reach a certain number of points on their driver’s license, and when this happens, PENNDOT will require certain action to be taken:

Once a driver reaches their first accumulation of six (6) points on their driver’s license, PENNDOT will issue a written notice for the driver to take a written point examination which goes over safe driving practices, department sanctions and basic driving safety concerns.  If the driver fails to pass the exam within 30 days of when the written notice was issued, PENNDOT will suspend the driver’s license for an indefinite term, and the driver may not restore their license until they successfully pass the written exam.

If a driver reaches their second accumulation of six (6) points on their driver’s license, PENNDOT will require the driver to attend a Departmental Hearing.  At this Hearing, the driver’s driving record will be reviewed by a panel who will then determine what penalty should be imposed on the driver.  The panel will have 3 options to choose from in terms of penalties: (1) issue a 15-day license suspension; (2) require the driver to take an on-road driver’s license examination; or (3) issue a verbal warning.  If the driver fails to attend this Departmental Hearing, the driver’s license will be suspended for sixty (60) days.

If a driver reaches their third accumulation of six (6) points on their driver’s license, PENNDOT will require the driver to attend a second Departmental Hearing.  At this Hearing, the driver’s driving record will be reviewed again by a panel, and the panel will determine whether to suspend the driver’s license for a period of thirty (30) days.  If the driver fails to attend this Departmental Hearing, the driver’s license will be suspended for an indefinite term; that is, the driver’s license will be suspended until the driver attends the hearing.

If You Need to Restore Your Pennsylvania Driver’s License

For further information regarding how to restore your driver’s license, please call on of our attorneys today to learn more information.

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