People who drive in Pennsylvania should be familiar with the rules of the road and understand the penalties for criminal driving offenses.
Depending on the circumstances, driving-related offenses can have a wide range of consequences in Pennsylvania. Drivers can face misdemeanor and even felony charges for some violations.
Misdemeanor driving offenses
In Pennsylvania, traffic-related misdemeanors lead to stronger penalties than infractions, such as speeding or driving with an expired license. Misdemeanors tend to result in higher fees and longer license suspensions. Furthermore, a person convicted of a misdemeanor can receive probation or time in jail. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a misdemeanor offense, especially if a minor child is a passenger in the car. Furthermore, leaving the scene of an accident or attempting to flee from a police officer can result in a misdemeanor charge.
Felony charges apply to the most serious driving offenses. In Pennsylvania, many driving-related felonies involve injury or death. Aggravated assault with a motor vehicle occurs when a negligent or reckless driver causes an accident that injures another party. Reckless behavior on the road can include driving while intoxicated, speeding and willful disregard for traffic laws. Vehicular homicide is also a felony offense in Pennsylvania. Consequences for driving-related felonies could be more severe if the driver was drunk or operating a vehicle with a suspended license. Attempting to evade police can also lead to harsher penalties, particularly if the driver crosses state lines while fleeing.
Driving offenses can lead to more severe consequences than fees and tickets. Some driving-related violations are misdemeanors or felonies that result in serious punishments in Pennsylvania.