Major Traffic Violations

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Don't Let a Serious Driving Violation in Pennsylvania Ruin Your Life!

Serious Defense For Serious Charges!

In Pennsylvania, Hit & Run, Careless Driving, Reckless Driving and Fleeing-Eluding are serious traffic offenses. These charges, while sometimes listed as summary violations, are much more serious than a simple ticket. These offenses can possibly lead to jail time and a driver's license suspensions.

Careless Driving

  • 75 PCSA § 3714.  Careless driving.

(a)  General rule.--Any person who drives a vehicle in careless disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of careless driving, a summary offense.

(b)  Unintentional death.--If the person who violates this section unintentionally causes the death of another person as a result of the violation, the person shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $500.

(c)  Serious bodily injury.--If the person who violates this section unintentionally causes the serious bodily injury of another person as a result of the violation, the person shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $250.

This is a summary offense, but it is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines. You will also suffer 3 points on your driver's license for this offense.

Reckless Driving

75 PCSA § 3736.  Reckless driving.

(a)  General rule.--Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

(b)  Penalty.--Any person who violates this section commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $200.

While Similar to careless driving, this is a summary offense. You may serve up to 90 days in jail as well as a fine of at least $200, but most importantly, this offense carries a mandatory 6 month license suspension.  Three or more reckless driving convictions and you will lose your license for 5 years.

Fleeing & Eluding

75 PCSA § 3733.  Fleeing or attempting to elude police officer.

(a)  Offense defined.--Any driver of a motor vehicle who willfully fails or refuses to bring his vehicle to a stop, or who otherwise flees or attempts to elude a pursuing police officer, when given a visual and audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop, commits an offense as graded in subsection (a.2).

(a.1)  Disposition of fines, etc.--The fines imposed and collected under subsection (a) shall not be subject to 42 Pa.C.S. § 3733 (relating to deposits into account). The fines imposed and collected under subsection (a) shall be distributed in the manner provided in 42 Pa.C.S. § 3571(b)(2) and (3) (relating to Commonwealth portion of fines, etc.).

(a.2)  Grading.--

(1)  Except as provided in paragraph (2), an offense under subsection (a) constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree. Any driver upon conviction shall pay an additional fine of $500. This fine shall be in addition to and not in lieu of all other fines, court expenses, jail sentences or penalties.

(2)  An offense under subsection (a) constitutes a felony of the third degree if the driver while fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer does any of the following:

(i)  commits a violation of section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance);

(ii)  crosses a State line; or

(iii)  endangers a law enforcement officer or member of the general public due to the driver engaging in a high-speed chase.

(b)  Signal by police officer.--The signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency lights or siren.

(c)  Defenses.--

(1)  It is a defense to a prosecution under this section that the pursuing police officer's vehicle was not clearly identifiable by its markings or, if unmarked, was not occupied by a police officer who was in uniform and displaying a badge or other sign of authority.

(2)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section if the defendant can show by a preponderance of the evidence that the failure to stop immediately for a police officer's vehicle was based upon a good faith concern for personal safety. In determining whether the defendant has met this burden, the court may consider the following factors:

(i)  The time and location of the event.

(ii)  The type of police vehicle used by the police officer.

(iii)  The defendant's conduct while being followed by the police officer.

(iv)  Whether the defendant stopped at the first available reasonably lighted or populated area.

Hit and Run

75 PCSA § 3742.  Accidents involving death or personal injury.

(a)  General rule.--The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until he has fulfilled the requirements of section 3744 (relating to duty to give information and render aid). Every stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

(b)  Penalties.--

(1)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, any person violating this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(2)  If the victim suffers serious bodily injury, any person violating subsection (a) commits a felony of the third degree, and the sentencing court shall order the person to serve a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than 90 days and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

(3)  (i)  If the victim dies, any person violating subsection (a) commits a felony of the second degree, and the sentencing court shall order the person to serve a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than three years and a mandatory minimum fine of $2,500, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

(ii)  In addition to the minimum term of imprisonment provided for in subparagraph (i), the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing shall provide within its guidelines a sentencing enhancement if the victim dies as the result of a violation of subsection (a). The provisions of this subparagraph shall not be an element of the crime, and notice of the provisions of this subparagraph shall not be required prior to conviction, but reasonable notice of the Commonwealth's intention to proceed under this subparagraph shall be provided after conviction and before sentencing.

75 PCSA § 3743.  Accidents involving damage to attended vehicle or property.

(a)  General rule.--The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle or other property which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible but shall forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until he has fulfilled the requirements of section 3744 (relating to duty to give information and render aid). Every stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

(b)  Penalty.--Any person violating this section commits a misdemeanor of the third degree, punishable by a fine of $2,500 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

Penalties for a Hit-and-Run in Pennsylvania

The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in Pennsylvania depend in large part on the severity of the accident.

If the accident of an attended vehicle only resulted in property damage and you fled the scene, you could be convicted of a 3rd-degree misdemeanor and face:

  • Up to 1 year in prison
  • A fine up to $2,500
  • Suspension 6 months

If the accident resulted in injuries, you could be convicted of a 3rd-degree felony and face:

  • A minimum 90-day jail sentence (with a potential jail sentence of up to 7 years)
  • A minimum $1,000 fine
  • Suspension 1 year

If the accident resulted in death, you could be convicted of a 2nd-degree felony and face:

  • A minimum of 3 years in prison (with a potential prison sentence of up to 7 years)
  • A minimum $2,500 fine

In addition to these penalties, you risk losing your license temporarily or permanently.

Having any criminal charge is a serious matter! An Serious Traffic conviction on your record can cause serious hardship, loss of liberty and limit your future opportunities. Consult with an experienced attorney familiar with handling these difficult cases.

Don't delay, your defense starts now! Attorney Jeffrey Veitch has the experience and skill you need and will do everything possible to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Call today to schedule a consultation with Attorney Veitch and protect your future.

Jeffrey D. Veitch Esq

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Attorney Jeff Veitch represents people accused of crimes and DUI charges, and in personal injury claims.

Free Initial Consultation

Attorney Jeff Veitch offers a free initial case evaluation during which time he will review the facts of your case with you and help you understand your options.

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