License and Registration Suspensions in Pennsylvania

License and Registration Suspensions in Pennsylvania

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According to Pennsylvania law, all drivers must have at least a minimum coverage auto insurance policy in order to legally drive in the state. Operating a vehicle without appropriate coverage, or allowing your auto insurance policy to lapse, can result in serious penalties including license and registration suspension and fines.

License or Registration Suspended for Driving Without Insurance

Driving a vehicle without insurance coverage is a serious offense in Pennsylvania. Those who are caught driving without insurance will face the following penalties.

  • A minimum $300 fine
  • A three-month suspension of your vehicle registration
  • A three-month suspension of your driver's license

As part of your suspension, you must surrender your vehicle's registration plate and your driver's license to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). To reinstate your license and registration, you'll need to pay a restoration fee for each. Additionally, for as long as your vehicle's registration is suspended, nobody else will be able to drive it.

However, you may choose to pay a civil penalty of $500 in lieu of the three-month suspension. To do this you must complete a MV-222 form, and submit it with your payments and proof of insurance to PennDot. Note that you will still be required to pay a restoration fee in addition to the $500 payment, and you may only take advantage of this civil penalty once every 12 months.

What If My Policy Temporarily Lapsed?

If you allowed your insurance policy to temporarily lapse, your license and registration may still be suspended for three months. However, if this lapse in coverage was for less than 31 days and you can prove to PennDOT that you did not operate the vehicle during that time, the suspension may be avoided. For example, if you were out of the country for the duration of the lapse, you may be able to reasonably prove that you did not drive the vehicle while uninsured.

If you intentionally canceled or allowed your insurance policy to lapse, you must send your registration plate and registration card to the following address within 30 days of the cancellation date to avoid vehicle registration suspension penalties.

  • Bureau of Motor Vehicles
  • Return Tag Unit
  • P.O. Box 68597
  • Harrisburg, PA 17106-8597

If you canceled your policy because you sold the vehicle, send PennDOT a copy of the front and back of the Certificate of Title or bill of sale indicating the new owner.

How to Reinstate Your License or Registration in Pennsylvania

Once you've finished your three-month suspension, you may reinstate your license and registration. In addition to any fines or civil payments associated with your violation, you'll be required to pay a $91 fee to reinstate your registration and a fee of up to $88 to reinstate your driver's license.

To pay your restoration fees, you will need to supply the following information.

  • The first eight digits of your vehicle's title number
  • Your vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The first two characters of the owner's last name (or company name, if it is titled by a company)

You may submit your payments online or by mailing a money order to:

  • PennDOT, Financial Responsibility Section
  • P.O. Box 68674
  • Harrisburg, PA 17106-8674

Once your registration is restored, the state will issue you a new registration plate.

It is best to compare quotes from insurance companies that specialize in policies for drivers that have prior incidents on their record.

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License Suspension and Points

In Pennsylvania, you will receive points on your driving record for committing traffic violations, such as excessive speeding or driving without the minimum required auto insurance coverage. The penalties for accumulating points are outlined below.

Accumulate 6 points on your driving record
Penalty
First offenseTake and pass a written examination within 30 days of receiving your notice. If you fail to pass the exam within 30 days, your license will be suspended. If you do pass, two points will be removed from your record.
Second offenseThe second time your total points accumulate to six or more, you will have to attend a department hearing, at which you may be ordered to take a special on-road driver's examination or face a 15-day license suspension.
Third or subsequent offenseAttend a department hearing and face a potential 30-day license suspension. If you fail to attend your hearing, your license will be suspended indefinitely until you do attend.
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If you accumulate 11 or more points on your record, you license will automatically be suspended based on the number of prior suspensions.

Accumulate 11 points on your record
Length of license suspension
First suspensionFive days per point
Second suspension10 days per point
Third suspension15 days per point
Any subsequent suspensionOne year
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If you are convicted of xcessive speeding (at least 31 miles per hour over the speed limit, you will have to attend a department hearing where you will receive either a 15-day suspension or be ordered to take an on-road driver's examination. Failure to attend the hearing will result in a 60-day license suspension.

However, drivers under the age of 18 face stricter penalties. If you accumulate six or more points or exceed the speed limit by 26 miles per hour or more, your license will be suspended for 90 days. For each additional instance that you violate these thresholds, your license will be suspended for 120 days.

How Do I Remove Points from My Record?

For every 12 consecutive months that you drive without incurring a license suspension or revocation, three points will be removed from your driving record. If your record remains at zero points for 12 consecutive months, any new points will be regarded as a first accumulation.

Daniel is a former Staff Writer at ValuePenguin, covering insurance, retirement and other personal finance topics. He previously wrote about compliance and best practices for K-12 school districts at Frontline Education.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.