There are big changes coming to the way suspension credit is handled in Pennsylvania. With Act 30 signed into law to take effect in 15 months, the PA Legislature sends a message that they will no longer allow the archaic suspension credit system to ruin the lives of Pennsylvania residents.
Act 30 or Senate Bill 553 is set to change the requirement of drivers and officials in Pennsylvania by eliminating the requirement that a court or district attorney require the licensee to surrender a driver’s license upon conviction and forward the license with the record of the conviction to PennDOT; stipulates that licenses surrendered to PennDOT by the licensee may be destroyed, which may cause the licensee to apply for a replacement license, when eligible; and, authorizes any police officer or designated Commonwealth employee to confiscate a license that has been revoked, suspended, cancelled or disqualified. The new section reads as;
(a) [Conviction of offense.–Upon a conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction for any offense which calls for mandatory suspension in accordance with section 1532 (relating to suspension of operating privilege), the court or the district attorney shall require the surrender of any driver’s license then held by the defendant and shall forward the driver’s license together with a record of the conviction to the department. The suspension shall be effective upon a date determined by the court or district attorney or upon the date of surrender of the license to the court or district attorney, whichever shall first occur.] Conviction of offense.–Upon a conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction for an offense which calls for mandatory suspension of an individual’s operating privilege, the court or the district attorney shall inform the defendant that the suspension shall be effective within 60 days. This section shall create a rebuttable presumption of the defendant’s knowledge of the suspension for the purposes of section 1543 (relating to driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked).
(b) Suspension, revocation or disqualification of operating privilege.–
(1) Upon the suspension or revocation of the operating privilege or the disqualification of the commercial operating privilege of any person by the department, the department shall forthwith notify the person in writing at the address of record to surrender his driver’s license to the department for the term of suspension, revocation or disqualification. Licenses that are surrendered to the department may be destroyed. Upon the restoration of the operating privilege, the licensee may apply for a replacement license.
(2) The department shall include with the written notice of suspension, revocation or disqualification a form for acknowledging the suspension, revocation or disqualification, which form shall be filed with the department if the person has no license to surrender.
(3) The suspension, revocation or disqualification shall be effective upon [the earlier of:
(i)] a date determined by the department[; or
(ii) the date of filing or mailing of the license or acknowledgment to the department, if that date is subsequent to the department’s notice to surrender the license.
(4) Upon surrender of the license or acknowledgment, the department shall issue a receipt showing the date that it received the license or acknowledgment].
(c) Seizure of revoked, suspended, canceled or disqualified licenses.–[(1) The department may delegate authority to the following persons to seize the driver’s license of any person whose driver’s license has been ordered to be surrendered by a court or district attorney or by the department:
(i) A designated Commonwealth employee.
(ii) Members of the Pennsylvania State Police.
(iii) Local police officers.
(iv) Sheriffs or deputy sheriffs.
(v) Constables or deputy constables.
(2) The department shall, by regulation, prescribe the manner of selecting those persons who are delegated authority under this subsection to seize the drivers’ licenses.]
Any police officer or designated employee of the Commonwealth shall be authorized to confiscate any license that has been revoked, suspended, canceled or disqualified. The confiscated license shall be returned to the department, unless it is necessary to keep the license as evidence of an offense.
This changes so many aspects of a suspension it leaves a few questions that need to be worked out before this new law goes into effect. We still do not know how this will affect currently suspended drivers who are not getting credit for their suspension time for any number of reasons.
Another interesting note of Act 30 2017
Driver’s license restoration fees of up to $2000 for Chemical Test Refusals. This is a huge bump in restoration fee amounts to PennDOT.
(b.2) Restoration fees.–
Contact License Restoration Services
(1) A person whose operating privilege has been suspended in accordance with subsection (b) or (b.1) shall:
(i) Except as provided in subparagraph (ii) or (iii), pay a restoration fee of $500.
(ii) If the department has previously suspended the person’s operating privilege under this section on one occasion, pay a restoration fee of $1,000.
(ii) (iii) If the department has previously suspended the person’s operating privilege under this section on two or more occasions, pay a restoration fee of $2,000.
(2) All restoration fees imposed under this section must be paid prior to the reinstatement of an individual’s operating privilege. unrestricted operating privilege or in accordance with section 1556(b)(3) (relating to ignition interlock limited license).
(b.3) Limitation.–Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the ability of law enforcement to obtain chemical testing pursuant to a valid search warrant, court order or any other basis permissible by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Pennsylvania.
We will be studying this new law closely and working with officials to ensure a smooth transition and appropriate relief for drivers. If you or a loved one are facing license suspension for any reason, please contact us to help with relief for your Pennsylvania license issues. For over 17 years we’ve been helping drivers through all type of driver’s license issues.