How can my Pennsylvania driving privileges be suspended for a conviction in a drug possession case when I was not driving or around a vehicle?
Pennsylvania Driving Privileges Suspension Lawyer
Many people expect to face a license suspension in a DUI case because they were driving a vehicle, but many people are surprised to find out that a conviction of a drug possession related offense also results in a Pennsylvania license suspension. In some cases, the suspension comes as a surprise because neither the judge nor attorneys informed the person of the suspension. Instead, the person became aware of the suspension a few months after sentencing when they received a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
Mandatory Suspension For Drug Conviction
Regrettably, the failure of the court or lawyers to inform a person about a license suspension is not an excuse or reason to avoid the license suspension for drug possession. Under section 1532(c) of the Vehicle Code, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is required to suspend the driving privileges of any person convicted of any offense “involving the possession, sale, delivery, offering for sale, holding for sale, or giving away of any controlled substance.” Simply stated, the suspension is mandatory.
The duration of the suspension is 6 months for a first offense, 1 year for a second offense, and 2 years for every third or subsequent offense. Pennsylvania case law has interpreted the language used in section 1532(c) to include convictions for inchoate crimes, such as Attempt or Conspiracy, if those convictions are related to the possession of drugs. If there are multiple drug possession charges in the same case, the person may face multiple suspensions.
The only way to avoid the suspension is to avoid the conviction of the underlying drug possession offenses. An experienced criminal defense attorney tries to avoid a conviction by filing pretrial motions seeking a suppression of evidence or dismissal of charges, through plea negotiations with the prosecutor, or by participating in a pretrial diversionary program such as ARD or Probation Without Verdict. Successful completion of the ARD program results in a dismissal of the charges and thereby is not considered a “conviction” for license suspension purposes.
For a free consultation with an experienced State College drug defense lawyer, contact JD Law, P.C. at (814) 954-7622 or via email.