Ticket Fines and Penalties in Pennsylvania
Under normal circumstances, all traffic tickets cost the same throughout the state. Fines are determined by violation, and those fines are the same throughout Pennsylvania.
Most tickets have the exact fine printed on them; check your ticket for your fine. If you’ve misplaced your ticket, refer to our section on replacing lost traffic tickets.
Conveniently, court costs and other surcharges are―typically―the same throughout the state, too. This is because the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) sets a uniform standard.
If your ticket doesn’t include any information about court costs and other surcharges, contact your county court for more information.
Pennsylvania has a multi-tier system of DUI fines and penalties. Generally, these do not vary by town, city, or county.
- General Impairment: BAC .08-.99%: $300-$5,000, depending on offense number.
- High: BAC .10-.159%: $500-$10,000, depending on offense number.
- Highest: BAC .16% and higher: $1,000-$10,000, depending on offense number.
NOTE: These fines are only the beginning. Depending on your BAC and the offense number, you’ll also face penalties including but not limited to license suspension, jail time, enrollment in alcohol highway safety school, a treatment program, and an ignition interlock system.
For more information on the fines and penalties associated with DUI, check out Section Four of Pennsylvania’s Driver’s Manual.
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine.
- Incur points on your driving record (which could lead to license suspension or revocation).
- Experience an increase in auto insurance rates.
Learn more about
Paying your Traffic Ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest the ticket during a hearing.
- Hire a traffic ticket attorney to represent you.
- Perhaps lose the option of pleading to a lesser charge.
- Experience no penalties if found not guilty (except any applicable court/attorney fees).
- Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).
Learn more about
Fighting your Traffic Ticket »
Auto Insurance Rate Increase
Some drivers experience an increase in their auto insurance rates; it’s a sort of residual penalty for committing a traffic offense.
Talk with your provider about a possible increase; if you find out you will be penalized, start shopping for lower car insurance rates online.
Overall, penalties remain the same throughout the state.
Pennsylvania Point System
Pennsylvania puts points on your driving record for each traffic violation of which you’re found guilty. Points range from 2 to 5, but you can accumulate many more depending on how many violations you get during a single traffic stop.
Once you accumulate a certain number of points (see below), the state will take action to both improve your driving skills and help you lower your driving record points and avoid driver's license suspension.
PA Driver’s License Suspension and Revocation
Some violations lead to automatic, mandatory license suspension or revocation. These can be based on driving record points, criminal convictions, or failure to satisfy a court order or judgment.
License Suspension: Typically, license suspensions are for a specific, predetermined period of time. Sometimes you might have to satisfy requirements to get your license back; other times you might not.
License Revocation: Often, license revocations are for undetermined periods of time. Usually, a driver with a revoked license will have to meet certain requirements before having his license reinstated.
Point accumulation is a common reason for license suspension. Pennsylvania can suspend your license for:
Accumulating 6 points (as a 1st offense) and not passing the PennDOT-ordered exam within 30 days of notification.When any driver reaches 11 or more points, their driver's license will automatically be suspended. Accumulating 6 points (as a 2nd or 3rd offense; generally, hearings take place before the suspensions occur).
Section Four of Pennsylvania’s Driver’s Manual provides information about the various ways a driver can lose his license to suspension or revocation (unrelated to points).
- DUI violations.
- Committing a felony with a vehicle.
- Committing a homicide with a vehicle.
- Reckless driving.
- Fleeing from a police officer.
- Driving with an already suspended or revoked license.
- Failure to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights.
Penalties for Drivers Younger than 21 Years Old
If you’re younger than 21 years old, you’re considered to be driving under the influence if you have a BAC of .02 or higher and are at risk for license suspension, fines, and even jail time. The severity depends on the offense (1st, 2nd, 3rd, or subsequent), but understand that even a 1st offense can get you:
A jail sentence between 2 days and 6 months. $500-$5,000 in fines. A 12 month license suspension (with eligibility for an occupational license after 60 days).
Check the Section Four of Pennsylvania’s Driver’s Manual for more information on how the state handles for drivers under 21 in regard to DUI.
Penalties for Drivers Younger than 18 Years Old
Drivers younger than 18 years old face license suspension if they:
Accumulate 6 points on their driving records (suspension of 90 days). Get one high-speed conviction (26 MPH or more over the speed limit) (suspension of 90 days).
Penalties for Pennsylvania Commercial Drivers
Pennsylvania will suspend or revoke your CDL for at least 1 year if you:
- Drive your CMV under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
- Refuse a blood alcohol test.
- Commit a felony with a CMV.
- Leave an accident scene and fail to report it.
- Have an accident causing personal injury or death with a CMV.
- Cause damage to an unattended vehicle or other property with a CMV.
- Drive a CMV while your CDL is suspended, revoked, cancelled, or recalled.
- Lose your CDL for three years if you commit any of these offenses while operating a CMV placarded for transporting hazardous materials.
- Lose your CDL for life if you commit a felony involving a CMV and controlled substances.
You’ll lose your CDL for life if you commit any of the offenses in the “First Offenses” section a 2nd time.
Serious Traffic Offenses
You can lose your CDL for at least:
- 60 days if you commit 2 serious traffic violations with your CMV during a 3 year period.
- 120 days if you commit 3 serious traffic violations with your CMV during a 3 year period.
You are committing a serious traffic violation if you:
- Are driving “carelessly” or “recklessly.”
- Change lanes in an erratic or improper manner.
- Drive too closely behind another driver.
- Operate a CMV without obtaining, or without having present, your CDL.
- Operate a CMV without the properly classed CDL.
- Commit an offense that involves a fatal traffic accident using your CMV.
Other offenses put your CDL at risk for suspension, too. Offenses such as railroad-highway grade crossing violations and violating out-of-service orders can get you suspensions that last anywhere from a year to three years.
For more information, check Section One of the Pennsylvania Commercial Driver’s Manual.Other Topics in This Section