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Traffic Ticket Attorneys in Harrisburg

Protecting You against All Types of Traffic Violations

In Pennsylvania, only state police can use radar systems — and they do. Speeding tickets bring lots of money into the coffers of state and local governments. If you've been ticketed for speeding, reckless driving, failure to stop, or any other traffic violation, think twice before you take out your checkbook. It may be worth it to fight that traffic ticket — especially if you're a truck driver.

The criminal defense lawyers at Shaffer & Engle may be able to save you points on your driving record today and your driver’s license tomorrow with a prompt, aggressive defense in traffic court. Contact our law office at (717) 268-4287 to talk with an attorney. Call now to schedule a free consultation.

What Points Can Do to Your Driving Record

Every moving violation and traffic ticket carries a certain number of points against your driving record. The accumulation of 6 or more points will result in a license suspension unless a written examination of the Department is taken and passed within 30 days of notification. But that's just the beginning of the trouble.

Insurance companies and employers can also look at points on your driving record. They see an insurance risk. It could cause you to lose out on a job. It almost certainly will cause your insurance rates to go up.

A defense lawyer can often fight or negotiate traffic tickets to get charges - and points - reduced or eliminated.

Call our office at (717) 268-4287 if you've been ticketed for these, or other, traffic violations:

  • Speeding
  • Failure to stop
  • Careless driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Improper passing
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road or in the wrong lane of travel
  • Passing a school bus on amber lights (this is a serious offense, with a mandatory 60-day loss of license and $200 fine)
  • Underage DUI (if we get involved at the pretrial phase, we can often get a sentence for counseling and community service instead of the loss of a driver’s license)

Saving Your Commercial Driver's License

In Dauphin County and Cumberland County, we see a lot of trucking traffic along Interstates 81, 83, 322, 76, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Truck drivers are easy targets for highway patrol officers looking to write a quick ticket for speeding or an equipment violation. But they rarely write up just one violation — CDL drivers often get written up for a number of problems in addition to the original moving violation.

At Shaffer & Engle, we protect the interests of commercial drivers and truckers traveling through our part of central Pennsylvania. With prompt and aggressive defense, we can often reduce or eliminate fines and potentially save you points on your driver’s license. Contact our Harrisburg traffic ticket attorneys.

Laws Governing Truck Drivers

Federal and state laws governing CDLs are harsh—significantly harsher than laws governing regular driver’s licenses. For instance, a conviction for driving while impaired will not result in the loss of a regular driver’s license but will result in a CDL suspension for one year.

We are skilled at mounting an effective defense against DUI and speeding charges, and at fighting to protect your right to possess a valid CDL.

We commonly contest CDL-related traffic violations based on:

  • Police machinery. Police speed-detecting machines, including the Accutrak, need to be calibrated regularly to provide valid results. Machines must also be one of several models that are accepted under Pennsylvania law.
  • Police operator error. Police officers are frequently not trained properly or fail to follow procedure. In a recent case, a state trooper used the radar gun through the window, though glass and air conditioning can mar results. In another case, an officer used the radar in conjunction with a rearview mirror, also marring the results.
  • Roadway conditions. In busy traffic, the presence of other cars can lead to incorrect radar/Accutrak readings.

The result of our legal representation? Countless successful cases, including dismissal of charges and reduced charges resulting in drivers' retention of commercial driving privileges. For more information regarding your rights and our criminal defense team, contact our firm at (717) 268-4287.

The Administrative Process before a PADOT Hearing Examiner

The appropriate method of obtaining review for a resident or non-resident Pennsylvania license suspension is by applying for an administrative time credit hearing before the Department. The application (usually filed in the form of a petition) is filed with the clerk in charge of docketing such hearings. In the petition, the facts and circumstances of why administrative time credit is laid out in chronological and specific factual detail.

The usual reasons consist of such facts as:

  • The license (if PADL) was previously surrendered
  • An acknowledgment of suspension (DL-16 form) was previously submitted by a non-resident driver or a PA driver that has signed an affidavit indicating that their license has been lost, stolen, or mutilated.

The petition must thoroughly set forth those facts that substantiate either of these two scenarios. This process is not to test the validity of the suspension/revocation itself; correct or adjust a driving record; or reduce a suspension or revocation time.

The proper process to be followed is:

  • Appeal PADOT's denial or recall of an occupational limited license (also known as a "bread and butter" license).
  • Appeal PADOT's cancellation, denial, or recall of a probationary license.
  • Appeal PADOT's denial of an economic hardship exemption of the ignition interlock requirements, and/or
  • Request credit toward serving a driving privilege suspension or relocation.

License Suspension for Out-Of-State Motorists

"I live in another state. What effect does a Pennsylvania license suspension have on me?"

The fact that a driver is not a resident of Pennsylvania is of no consequence in determining whether that driver can be suspended from driving in Pennsylvania because the privileges of driving a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth which are given to a nonresident are subject to suspension or revocation in a like manner, and for like cause, as a resident's operating privileges. Thus, a nonresident motorist can properly be convicted for driving while under a suspension, even though the motorist has a valid sister state license where the motorist's Pennsylvania driving privileges have been suspended.

The consequences of a Pennsylvania license suspension are also carried over to your home state under the Driver's Licensing Compact. Your home state will not renew your license if you live in a state that participates. Currently, there are 40 states and the District of Columbia that participate. This means that you will have to either wait out the suspension period, apply for restoration in Pennsylvania, and then with your home state (once Pennsylvania restores your operating privilege); or you may apply for administrative time credit for one of the reasons highlighted above in this article.

How Can a Lawyer Help with License Suspension or Revocation?

There is no requirement that you have counsel to apply for time credit or present at the hearing before PADOT. However, it is important to present your case in an intelligent, thoughtful, and compelling manner, noting the specific legal provisions that reinforce your position.

"Will my license suspension or points received in another state other than Pennsylvania transfer to Pennsylvania?"

The simple answer to this question is, "It depends." Pennsylvania, along with many other states, has adopted the Driver's License Compact, a body of legislation that seeks to promote highway safety and traffic law obedience by out-of-state motorists by requiring the suspension or revocation of their driving privileges under the laws of their home states. Several requirements must be met but in essence, your license could be in jeopardy in Pennsylvania if you are convicted of a traffic offense in another state.

How Does the Driver's License Compact Work?

To best understand how the Compact works, consider the plight of the Pennsylvania driver who is convicted of drunk driving in a Compact-member state. For purposes of imposing a suspension, Pennsylvania is required to treat the conduct reported as if it had occurred within the Commonwealth. The result is that the offender is treated as if he or she violated Pennsylvania's own DUI statute (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3802).

The result could be "no suspension" if the violator has no prior offenses as defined by 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3806(b).

A prior offense means his or her record shows:

  • A conviction
  • A juvenile consent decree
  • An adjudication of delinquency
  • A substantially similar offense in another state within 10 years before the present violation
  • Acceptance of accelerated rehabilitative disposition or another form of preliminary disposition for a violation under Section 3802, former 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3731

Should the driver commit two additional major offenses within the requisite time period, that person will be deemed to be a habitual offender under Pennsylvania law and will suffer a five-year operating privilege revocation in accordance with 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1542.

States that Have Signed the Compact

In addition to Pennsylvania, the following jurisdictions are signatories to the Compact:

  • Alabama
  • Illinois
  • Montana
  • South Carolina
  • Alaska
  • Indiana
  • Nebraska
  • Texas
  • Arizona
  • Iowa
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Arkansas
  • Kansas
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • California
  • Louisiana
  • New Jersey
  • Virginia
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • New Mexico
  • Washington
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • West Virginia
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • North Carolina
  • Wyoming
  • Florida
  • Minnesota
  • Ohio
  • Hawaii
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Idaho
  • Missouri
  • Oregon

Although both Rhode Island and South Dakota have enacted legislation authorizing entry into the Compact, neither state has formally adopted the Compact.

The Impact of the Compact on Pennsylvania Citizens

In determining whether a reported offense in another state may properly serve as a basis for suspending a Pennsylvania licensee's driving privileges under the DUI statute, the other state's offense need only be "substantially similar" to the corresponding section of the vehicle code in order to mandate a suspension under the Compact.

However, in determining whether the Commonwealth can sanction a citizen pursuant to the Driver's License Compact for a substantially similar out-of-state conviction, the "substantial similarity" envisioned by the Compact does not call for a direct comparison of Pennsylvania's statute to the out-of-state statute, but rather requires determination of whether the two statutes are of a substantially similar nature to the Compact.

Thus, in determining substantial similarity for purposes of treating an out-of-state drunk driving conviction as a Pennsylvania conviction, the correct comparison is never between the blood alcohol levels described in the statutes, but between the description in the Driver's License Compact of drunk driving and the other state's law.

Speeding Tickets

Speeding tickets may seem like the least-serious criminal charge you can receive.

However, a conviction for speeding can lead to serious consequences, including:

  • Fines
  • Traffic points
  • Increased insurance rates

Points can cause serious problems for your driving record. Every moving violation and traffic ticket, including speeding tickets, brings points against your driving record. Just six points can result in a mandatory 15-day driver's license suspension.

At Shaffer & Engle, we provide experienced and aggressive legal defense against all traffic violations, including speeding charges. Our team of traffic ticket attorneys in Harrisburg includes a former instructor to Pennsylvania police officers regarding police practices and procedures. We are highly effective in defending speeding charges.

Experienced Help to Protect Your Driving Privileges

Our attorney team is has handled over 1,000 criminal cases, including hundreds of cases involving speeding, unsafe passing, racing, and other speed-related issues.

We can provide aggressive and knowledgeable defense, including defense based on:

  • Police machinery and police operator error. Speed-detecting machines are often unreliable, and their results can be challenged based on their maintenance, police training, and police error. We have successfully challenged speeding tickets based on police officers' failure to avoid obstructions when using Accutrak machines and other radar devices.
  • Roadway conditions. Busy traffic and inclement weather can result in incorrect radar readings.

Before allowing speeding convictions to raise your insurance rates and lead to a mandatory driver safety examination, contact us for a no-charge discussion of our speeding defense legal services.

To learn more about our traffic ticket lawyers in Harrisburg and how we can help you, call (717) 268-4287 today and set up a free consultation.

What Our
Clients Have to Say

  • Outcome of the case was the best possible under the circumstances.

    “Very professional and upfront. Reviewed the facts of my case with me in a realistic manner and gave me excellent advice. Did not push hiring the firm on me but let me know exactly what I needed to do if I chose to have her firm represent me. Outcome of the case was the best possible under the circumstances. Well done and thank you!”

    TP

  • Jeff is very up front about his experience, results and belief in the success or possible issues with your case.

    “From the minute you call Jeff Engle's office, you are treated with first class respect and service. Jeff is very up front about his experience, results and belief in the success or possible issues with your case. From the time of retainment, Jeff's use of electronic forms of communication keep you up to date to the minute whenever there are developments and progress in your case. This type of communication is nearly unheard of in ANY proffession. Many times, I knew that Jeff was taking his personal time to communicate with me. Jeff presents himself as a very knowledgeable and able attorney with sincere personal interest in the success of your case. During times of uncertainty, having someone of Jeff's demeanor at your side will simply make you feel that no matter what the outcome may be, he is right there with you. There was not one time during the course of my case that I felt Jeff was not thoughful and prepared for. I cannot say enough for the level of professionalism this man presents while representing you as a client.”

    Kevin

  • Jeff advised me appropriately and always responded to my calls promptly.

    “At the law offices of Shaffer & Engle, my case was handled with professionalism, compassion, and dedication. Facing criminal charges was a very frightening experience to me, but I knew I was in good hands with Jeff Engle. I had no past experiences with the judicial system. I felt I was treated with courtesy and dignity. Jeff did everything within his legal powers to provide a great service when I was in need. From my experience with Jeff, he has been more than a lawyer; he is now considered a great new friend of my family. He took a personal interest in my case and for that I am eternally grateful. Jeff always delivered on what he said to me and did everything he set out to do. Jeff fought the prosecutor (DA) every step of the way without hesitation. Jeff advised me appropriately and always responded to my calls promptly. What could have been a truly awful situation was resolved completely to my satisfaction. I am available at any time to address any questions with respect to Jeff Engle as an attorney or as a person. I hold him in the highest regard. If anyone ever wanted to see the definition of what a true attorney is...they should be able to open up a dictionary and see a picture of Jeff next to it. I would and will recommend him and his law firm to anyone looking for a knowledgeable and aggressive law firm or criminal defense attorney.”

    Tara K

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    “Elisabeth, You are the best! I can't express how upset I was when I discovered that my builder committed fraud and lied to me about the quality and condition of my new house. It was a huge investment for me and he put me in a bad financial situation. I was cautiously hopeful when you told me you could help. When you got me a judgment for $130,000 plus- three times the amount of my damages- I was amazed! Thanks so much for all of your hard work and dedication. You really did make a "federal case" of my situation! With the money you won for me, I can finally enjoy my home. P.P.”

    P.P.

  • He has a great personality and makes you feel welcome and comfortable.

    “Mr. Engle took our case and worked diligently from the time we hired his firm until our case was resolved. In addition he kept us well informed throughout the process with emails, letters, and phone conversations. I have worked with a number of law firms in the past 10 plus years and Attorney Engle is one of the best. He does not make you feel as if you are a burden to him when you ask questions. He has a great personality and makes you feel welcome and comfortable. He makes no promises due to the fact he is not a fortune teller but he will do everything possible to have a positive outcome for your case. I recommend Attorney Engle and his Law Firm and hold nothing but positive praise for him and his team.”

    Paul W.