New Opportunities for Those Receiving Suspension Notices in PA

 By David E. Hershey, Traffic Law Attorney

If you were convicted of a violation of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act at any point during the past 10 years, you may be one of many Pennsylvanians who received a notice from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) stating that your license will be suspended.

Many people feel as though they suddenly are “criminal” in such a situation. Do not panic. An attorney specializing in traffic matters can help.

These notices were sent out as a result of an audit that determined a particular Clerk of Courts Office was not reporting convictions to PennDOT so that license suspensions could be administered when appropriate. As a result, Clerks of Courts across the state have been reviewing their records and reporting convictions to PennDOT that date as far back as 2004. Because there was no time limitation in place for PennDOT to issue a license penalty, suspension notices have been sent to people who thought that they had already served their suspension years ago or who were unaware of the suspension requirement due to a previous conviction.

Some individuals facing a license suspension are eligible to apply for an Occupational Limited License (OLL) for work purposes only (often referred to as a “bread and butter” license). Previously, a conviction of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act would make an individual ineligible to apply. To ensure that individuals are able to retain employment, Act 129 of 2014 was signed into law by Gov. Corbett on Oct. 27, 2014 to create an exception that allows individuals convicted of a violation of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act the opportunity to apply for an OLL.

This bill also requires Clerks of Courts offices to send all past, unreported convictions to Penn DOT by Jan. 1, 2016. After that deadline, the Clerk of Courts must submit current conviction information to PennDOT within 10 days of the ruling. If not submitted within 10 days, no further action may be taken by PennDOT in regard to license penalties.

If you have received a PennDOT notice of suspension or feel you may qualify for an OLL under this new law, contact our office and speak to an attorney who fully understands this new legislation and can assist you in applying for an Occupation Limited License.

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