Speeding in Pennsylvania can cost you a lot. Unless you successfully contest your ticket, you’ll pay a hefty fine depending on how much you were speeding. If this was not your first ticket, you may also have to take a safe driving test or even have your license suspended. If you’ve recently received a ticket, your first step should be to educate yourself on the consequences and your options.
How much does a PA speeding ticket cost?
The fines for Pennsylvania speeding tickets are the same across the state, so you’ll pay the same amount whether you’re caught speeding in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or a Pennsylvania small town. The fine depends on your speed and increases the faster above the speed limit you were driving. Fines also get a little higher in zones that have a 65 or 70 mph speed limit. For example, you’ll pay $45 for driving 10 mph above the speed limit in a 25, 35, 40, 45, or 55 mph zone. That amount goes up to $95 for driving 35 mph above the limit. In a 65 or 70 mph zone, you’ll pay $52.50 for driving 10 mph above the speed limit and $102.50 for driving 35 mph above. You can view a breakdown of Pennsylvania’s traffic fines, updated in 2014, on the Traffic Injury Prevention Project website. If you receive a speeding ticket, the fine amount will be printed right on it.
Extra fees and costs
Unfortunately, the speeding fine is not the only thing you’ll pay when you receive a speeding ticket. There are a number of surcharges and court fees, broken down below:
- Emergency Medical Service – $10
- Judicial Computer Program/Access to Justice Account – $10
- General Fund – $30-300 (depending on the violation and whether it is a repeat offense)
- Court Costs – $37 ($45 if you request a hearing)
As you can see, these fees add up quickly, and there can be even more for additional reckless behavior. If you are caught speeding in an active work zone, the fines will be doubled. There are also additional surcharges for driving under the influence. These vary from $300 to $10,000, depending on the offense and your blood alcohol content (BAC).
The Pennsylvania 6 point system
Pennsylvania uses a point system for traffic violations. Each violation will result in 2-5 points. If, however, you are accused of multiple violations at the same traffic stop (for example, speeding and going through a red light), you may get more than 5 points at once. These points add up over time, but you lose 3 points for each 12 months you go without a violation. Pennsylvania organizes penalties around how many times you reach 6 points. Let’s go through an example. You accumulate 6 points and have to face the appropriate penalties. After a year, your driving record goes down to 3 points. A few months later, you receive 4 points for a major violation, putting you at 7 points. This will count as your second time accumulating 6 points. However, if you manage to maintain 0 points for 12 consecutive months, any future accumulations of 6 points will be treated as your first time.
A breakdown of the penalties
- First accumulation of 6 points: You will be required to take a written exam proving your knowledge of safe driving practices, departmental sanctions, and related sanctions. If you pass, 2 points will be removed from your record. If you do not pass within 30 days, your license will be suspended until you can pass.
- Second accumulation of 6 points: You will have to attend a mandatory departmental hearing. The examiner may require you to take an on-road driver’s examination or suspend your license for 15 days. After you pass the test or complete the suspension, 2 points will be taken off your record. If you do not attend the hearing, your license will automatically be suspended for 60 days. Attending your hearing at the set time is therefore very important.
- Third or more accumulation of 6 points: You will be required to attend a departmental hearing, where an examiner will decide whether the implement a 30 day license suspension. If you do not attend the hearing, your license will be suspended until you attend a new hearing.
- Accumulation of 11 points or more: Your license will automatically be suspended for the following length of time:
- 1st suspension: 5 days per point
- 2nd suspension: 10 days per point
- 3rd suspension: 15 days per point
- 4th or more suspension: one year
One situation can circumvent the 6 point system: if you are caught speeding by more than 30 mph over the speed limit. In this case, you’ll be required to attend a hearing. The examiner will require an on-road driver’s exam and/or institute a 15 day license suspension. After completing these penalties, your driving record will show 5 points.
Paying your speeding ticket
If you simply wish to pay your speeding ticket, you may do so online, through the mail, or in person. Your ticket will provide details on how to pay and the deadline for payment. Sending in a payment constitutes an admittance of guilt. Before paying, make sure there isn’t a checked box stating you must appear in court. If there is, you will have to attend court in person rather than simply paying the fine.
Contesting your speeding ticket
Contesting your ticket may be worth it to avoid the heavy fines, keep points off your driver’s license, and prevent your insurance rate from going up. If you wish to contest the ticket, you’ll need to inform the court in writing and then show up on your assigned court date. By pleading not guilty, you may be able to get your ticket overturned or negotiate for a lower fine and fewer points. If you and the court do not agree on an offer, you may schedule a trial.
If you don’t feel confident about contesting your ticket yourself, you may want to hire a traffic lawyer. If you’re considering legal representation, you can upload your case onto BernieSez for free. Our attorneys will contact you with quotes, and you can choose one who fits your budget. Hiring a lawyer is often less expensive than paying ticket fines and dealing with long-term increases in your car insurance rate.