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Can You Get Kicked Out of School for a Pittsburgh DUI?

You may not think a Pittsburgh DUI would have an impact on your life, other than on your criminal record. But if you’re a college student, driving under the influence could derail your education.

Whether you study at Alleghany County Community College, the University of Pittsburgh, or Carnegie Mellon University, your college has a student handbook that sets an alcohol policy and code of conduct. Most colleges include DUIs on their lists of prohibited conduct, and if you violate your school’s code, you could face sanctions ranging from a warning to expulsion.

You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your education, so don’t throw it away after a single mistake. Fortunately, a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer can help. If your lawyer can fight the criminal charges it can help you avoid discipline from your school.

For more information about beating a college DUI, call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation.

Check Your Student Handbook After a DUI

Your student handbook will spell out the disciplinary procedures, penalties, and prohibited conduct at your university. Generally, penalties are determined by a panel that has a lot more flexibility than a judge. So, depending on your standing with the school and the seriousness of your conduct, you could receive a:

  • Warning--The least severe consequences of misconduct. It’s basically a formal acknowledgment of the incident and a statement that another misstep will result in a harsher punishment. If you’ve been charged with DUI, it’s unlikely you will get away with only a warning unless there are mitigating circumstances.
  • Probation–This means you can keep going to class, but are subject to restrictions. For example, you may no longer be able to drive to and from class, and you might have to attend alcohol counseling. This is a common consequence for a first time DUI.
  • Suspension–When you’re suspended, you are excluded from campus, classes, and college events for a certain period. When you’re charged with DUI, your college could decide to suspend you until your case is completed and you’ve served your punishment. This is a serious consequence, especially because your tuition won’t get refunded in most cases.
  • Expulsion–This is the most serious punishment. Generally, the permanent exclusion from campus is reserved for the most severe cases. In the context of a DUI, multiple offenses, or a single offense that causes a serious injury may be enough to warrant this punishment.

You may face different penalties depending on your area of study. For example, the Community College of Allegheny County has separate and harsher consequences for nursing students who commit DUI. If you have a single DUI conviction or pending prosecution within the last year, you are barred from admission into the program. Once in the program, two DUI convictions result in automatic expulsion.

A Lawyer Can Help You Avoid the Consequences

It’s important to understand that as a student, you face two procedures: one with your school and one in criminal court. The two are independent, but the outcome of your criminal proceedings can influence your school disciplinary hearing. For example, if you immediately plead guilty to DUI, your school will assume you are guilty and punish you accordingly. But if you fight your charge and secure an acquittal or a lesser offense, you will fare much better at your disciplinary hearing.

Pennsylvania has a “zero tolerance” policy for underage DUI, which means that a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .02. So if you’re an underage student, getting behind the wheel after a single beer puts you at risk of criminal penalties and disciplinary action.

With such high stakes, you owe it to yourself to get the best legal representation possible. Call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation about defending your DUI case.

Driving Without a License in PA: Penalties & Consequences

From leaving the house without your ID to losing your wallet, there are various ways to wind up behind the wheel without a license. If you are driving without your license in Pennsylvania and subsequently stopped, you could be charged with a summary offense.

Drivers charged with driving without a license in Pennsylvania face up to $200 in fines for a first offense. But, if you have a valid license, can produce it within 15 days, or prove that you were licensed at the time, you likely won’t be convicted.

At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we’ve helped countless individuals deal with driving without a license situations correctly. Our Pittsburgh defense lawyers know traffic offenses can complicate your life, and what it takes to fix these issues.

If you’ve been charged with driving without a license, call one us today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consult. We can help reinstate your license, handle PennDot issues, and ensure a summary offense doesn’t hurt your driving record or increase your insurance premiums.

Is Driving Without A License Illegal?

Under Pennsylvania law, no person “shall drive any motor vehicle unless the person has a driver’s license […].”

When someone violates this law, he or she may be charged with driving without a license. This is a summary offense, punishable by $25 to $200.

Most drivers who are charged with driving without a license fall into one of two categories:

Not carrying your license

In cases where you simply forgot your license or it was recently lost or stolen, you likely won’t face any criminal charges if you produce your license to a Magisterial District Court within 15 days, or if you provide evidence that you were licensed at the time. In these cases, you will still have to pay a $25 fine.

Driving without a license

In cases where you drove without a license and you did not have a license because it was revoked, you may be charged and face up to $200 in fines. It’s a smart idea to contact an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney if you fall into this category.

How Our Experienced Pittsburgh Attorneys Can Help

At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we know that driving is a necessity in Pennsylvania. Whether you’ve just been charged with driving without a license or have been charged multiple times, contact us for help getting back behind the wheel.

Driving without a license in Pittsburgh should not be taken lightly, and it can lead to a lot more than a $200 fine. A summary offense is a permanent mark on your criminal record, and damaging your driving record can affect your job and raise your insurance rates.

Our experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys have helped numerous individuals deal with driving without a license issues the right way. For a free, initial consultation, call us at (412) 281-2146 today.

Pittsburgh Hit & Runs: When You Can Be Charged

The term is self-explanatory. A hit and run describes situations where you’re involved in an accident, but you don’t stick around long enough to fulfill your obligations after a crash.

Some jurisdictions refer to the situation as fleeing or leaving the scene of an accident. The requirements vary according to where the accident happens and the nature of the collision, but a Pittsburgh hit and run exposes you to possible jail, fines, and a suspended license.

It’s understandable that you may be scared after a collision or want to avoid the hassle, particularly if no one was injured. However, the smart move is to obey the law if you’re involved in an accident. But you do have legal options if you already left the scene. The first step is to contact an experienced traffic lawyer. At Worgul. Sarna & Ness Criminal Defense Attorneys, we know what you’re dealing with and how to help. Let us review the situation and advise you about your rights.

Call (412) 281-2146 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free initial consultation.

Criminal Hit and Run Charges

Fleeing the scene isn’t grounded in the fact that you were in an accident. Getting into a crash isn’t a crime in itself, though there may be some legal consequences if you were driving drunk, on a suspended license, or engaged in other criminal activity at the time. Instead, hit and run charges are focused on your conduct in the moments after the collision.

Every US state has legal requirements for motorists, which typically include:

  • Exchanging contact information with other drivers;
  • Getting help for someone who’s hurt;
  • Notifying police or calling 911;
  • Leaving a note for an unattended vehicle that was damaged; and,
  • Completing a report, either at the scene or within a specific time period afterward.

Your legal obligations may also vary depending on the circumstances of the collision. For instance, the dollar value of the property damage may trigger certain requirements if no one was hurt. However, in every jurisdiction, you’re expected to remain at the scene, call for help, and fulfill other statutory duties if someone was injured or killed.

Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident

At a minimum, you can expect a civil citation or traffic ticket for failure to comply with reporting requirements. The fine may not seem to be a big deal, but keep in mind that there could be implications for your driving privileges in states that operate on a points system. It may be possible to avoid accumulating points by attending a driver’s safety course, but these classes can cost hundreds of dollars in some cases.

For leaving the scene under severe circumstances, you may be charged with a misdemeanor. Typically, a conviction could result in less than one-year incarceration, fines, and/or probation. Still, it will be reflected on your criminal record. If you flee the site of a fatal accident, it’s likely you’ll face felony charges. If convicted, a judge could issue a sentence involving:

  • Imprisonment of one year or more;
  • A fine that could run in the thousands;
  • Restitution, which means paying victims for their losses; and,
  • Many other penalties, depending on state law.

As with a misdemeanor, your criminal record will reflect a felony conviction. You could have trouble finding employment, lose a professional license, and suffer other collateral consequences.

How a Traffic Lawyer Can Help

If you’ve already left the scene and the time to report has expired, it might be wise to turn yourself in before the police come after you. Cooperation may lead to leniency in some situations. However, you should not take action without first talking to an attorney. Your lawyer can advise you on what to do based upon your unique circumstances.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

If you’re facing criminal charges stemming from a hit and run accident in Pittsburgh, time is of the essence. An experienced lawyer can review your circumstances and determine the best strategy for fighting the charges.

You have a better chance of obtaining a positive result when you get a lawyer involved as early as possible.

To learn more about your rights, contact a traffic violations attorney to set up a consultation today.

Caught Speeding in a Work Zone: What Happens Now?

If you were caught speeding in a work zone, you may be wondering what happens next. You were issued a ticket and not taken to jail, so it may seem like a minor offense. You should understand that getting a ticket for speeding in a work zone can have significant consequences.

Don’t just pay the fine without speaking to a lawyer. That’s the same thing as admitting you were guilty, and you could see rising insurance premiums or even lose your driving privileges for 15 days or longer! Our attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC can help you beat the charge and keep it off your record! Call our office at (412) 281-2146.

Requesting a Trial

The ticket you were issued will list the date of the offense, the offense that you were charged with. The, the date of your court appearance. The first court appearance for a person who is not in custody in jail is called an “arraignment.” This is when you will announce whether or not you intend to plead guilty or not guilty. Some people plead guilty at their arraignment without trying to fight the charge. You should understand some of the penalties that speeding in a work zone can carry before you decide to plead guilty.

Potential Penalties for Speeding in a Work Zone

Speeding in a work zone comes with steeper fines than a regular speeding ticket. If you were involved in an accident, you could be facing felony charges if another person was injured or killed. Minor speeding tickets may only result in you being assessed a fine, but you could be facing loss of your driver’s license if were speeding excessively or if you have had many speeding tickets before.

If you were caught driving over the speed limit in a work zone by over 11 miles per hour, you face a 15-day license suspension and 3 points on your driving record. Following are the points you will accumulate on your driving record for each class of speeding in a work zone offense:

  • Up to 10 MPH – 2 points
  • 11-15 MPH – 3 points and a 15-day license suspension
  • 16-25 MPH – 4 points and a 15-day license suspension
  • 25-30 MPH – 5 points and 15-day license suspension
  • 31 MPH or more – 5 points, a 15-day license suspension, and other possible penalties to be determined at a hearing

Other penalties could include community service, jail time, and attendance at classes about driving safely. Our attorneys will work to get your charges reduced or dismissed to minimize the consequences against you.

You may also see increasing costs for your insurance premiums or may even be dropped by your insurance company if you have too many traffic offenses on your record. Accumulating too many points on your driving record could disqualify you from certain jobs and prevent you from holding a commercial driver’s license.

Defenses

Possible defenses to speeding in a work zone include the following:

  • You were not actually driving
  • Lack of probable cause that a crime was being committed
  • Lack of reasonable suspicion that a traffic offense was being committed to pull you over
  • Lack of evidence
  • Failure to post signs to indicate the area is a work zone
  • Unconstitutional conduct by law enforcement during the stop

Will I Need to Appear in Court?

If you retain the services of one of our attorneys, we may be able to work out a deal with the prosecution that prevents you from needing to appear for trial. If you have not hired an attorney, you will either need to pay the fine on the ticket or appear in court on the date that is listed for your arraignment and request a trial date. Without an attorney, you will likely need to go to court at least twice—once for your arraignment and once for your trial.

Reach Out to an Experienced Traffic Ticket Lawyer for Help

Do you you have questions about fighting a traffic ticket for speeding in a work zone? Maybe your son or daughter just got their first ticket and you want to keep their driving record clear. If you have a job that involves driving, paying an attorney to beat the charge could save you thousands in future wages and insurance costs. Contact our attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC by calling (412) 281-2146 or fill out our online contact form.

Common Criminal Traffic Violations in Pittsburgh

There are different levels of criminal traffic violations in Pennsylvania. Most traffic tickets are summary offenses. These are minor crimes, and the potential punishments are typically fines and points on your driver’s license. Individually, traffic violations are not too serious. However, getting too many tickets can lead to serious consequences, like a driver’s license suspension. There are also more serious traffic offenses that lead to misdemeanor or felony charges. These can be punished by incarceration, fines, and more.

If you find yourself facing a criminal traffic violation in Pittsburgh, it is best to hire a lawyer. Our team at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC is here to help. Contact us online, or call (412) 281-2146 to schedule a consultation with a Pittsburgh criminal traffic attorney.

Common Criminal Traffic Violations

There are a number of criminal traffic offenses outlined in Pennsylvania law, including:

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
It is illegal to operate or be in control of a vehicle while impaired due to any drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two. Depending on whether the current charge is a first or subsequent DUI and whether your BAC was above or below .15 percent, you may face a misdemeanor charge.

Driving with a Suspended License
It is illegal to operate a vehicle on public roads while your driver’s license is suspended or revoked. If you are caught driving under these circumstances, a first offense is a summary offense. The penalty depends on the underlying reasons for your license suspension or revocation. Driving with a suspended license for a second time when your license was revoked for refusing to submit to a BAC test or a DUI is a third-degree misdemeanor. You can be jailed for up to one year and fined up to $2,500.

Fleeing or Attempting to Elude the Police
If a police officer signals for you to stop, you must. Fleeing from an officer or trying to elude them is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in jail, and a fine of up to $5,000 in addition to another fine of $500. A third-degree felony can result in seven years in prison, with fines reaching $15,000.

Accidents Involving Personal Injury or Death
If you cause an accident, you are required to stop at the scene, provide help, and notify the authorities. If you fail to stop at the scene of an accident that resulted in someone being injured or killed, you may be charged with at least a first-degree misdemeanor. If an individual was killed, you are likely to be charged with a felony.

Aggravated Assault by Vehicle
If you cause another person bodily injury because of driving recklessly, then you may be charged with a third-degree felony.

Homicide by Vehicle
If you drive recklessly or commit a traffic offense other than DUI, and that act results in an individual’s death, then you may face third-degree felony charges.

Let Us Help You with Your Criminal Traffic Violation

If you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges for a traffic violation, you need to take the situation seriously and hire a criminal defense attorney. This is not a simple traffic ticket you can get out of by simply paying the fine. You need to defend yourself. Otherwise, you may end up with a permanent criminal record. If you plead guilty or are convicted, you face incarceration, thousands of dollars in fines, the loss of your driver’s license for a period of time, and a number of other collateral consequences. By hiring a lawyer from Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC to help you with any number of criminal traffic violations, you are only helping strengthen your defense.

To discuss the charges against you, call us at (412) 281-2146, or use the online form to schedule a consultation.

Can Texting While Driving Lead to a Murder Charge

Distracted driving in Pennsylvania can have serious negative repercussions. Whether a driver is found to be texting while driving, calling a friend, or looking up directions on his or her cellphone, the penalties for distracted driving are severe and can result in hefty court fees and fines. When an accident due to distracted driving results in harm to other people or even death, a distracted driver can face some of the toughest penalties in Pennsylvania, punishable by years of incarceration and thousands of dollars in fines.

At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we’ve represented numerous clients who have been charged with distracted driving or who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in a homicide by vehicle charge. Our experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys know how to fight these types of charges and are skilled at defending our clients in distracted driving and homicide by vehicle cases.

Death & Distracted Driving — Is It Murder Or Homicide By Vehicle?

Murder and homicide by vehicle are two distinct but related charges in Pennsylvania that could, hypothetically, apply in a distracted driving case. When a person unlawfully kills someone with malice aforethought—i.e. the intention to kill or harm—or demonstrates extreme and reckless disregard for life, he or she may be committing murder. When a person unlawfully kills another person due to recklessness or gross negligence while driving and, at the same time, does not meet the criteria for murder, he or she may be committing homicide by vehicle, instead.

Lacking malice aforethought or extreme recklessness and disregard for life, i.e. the criteria for murder, most cases of death due to distracted driving would be classified as homicide by vehicle—not murder.

Can Texting While Driving Lead To A Homicide By Vehicle Charge?

Texting while driving can lead to a homicide charge in cases where a person is found to have caused the death of another person through recklessness or gross negligence while operating a motor vehicle. The charge of homicide by vehicle is classified as a third-degree felony and can have a large and lasting impact on a distracted driver’s life. It is punishable by up to:

  • 7 years incarceration
  • $15,000 in fines
  • 3 years license suspension

Additionally, a person convicted of homicide by vehicle could be sentenced to an additional term of up to 5 years incarceration if her offense occurred in an active work zone or if she violated her duty as a driver in an emergency response area.

How Our Experienced Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help

Being charged with any traffic violation or motor vehicle offense can be a frightening experience, none more so than in cases where death occurs. The risks of having a felony conviction on your criminal record are grave, but with the help of a skilled Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, you may be able to get your charges reduced.

At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we’ve helped numerous clients fight their distracted driving charges, no matter the severity of their case. If you’ve been charged with distracted driving, vehicular homicide, or any type of Pittsburgh traffic violation, call us for a free, initial consultation at (412) 281-2146 today.

What is a DUI Hotel?

Many people facing a first-time DUI in Pennsylvania think they’ll be heading to jail as part of their sentence. In fact, many Pennsylvanians do face incarceration times for their DUI offense and take on hefty fines, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, to boot. But not everyone ends up in jail. In Allegheny County, a special program has been created to keep people out of jail, known as the DUI Alternative Jail Program.

Under the DUI Alternative Jail Program, first-time DUI offenders are placed in special hotels—known as “DUI hotels”—where they take part in treatment programs. Given the relative comfort of a hotel compared with a jail cell, and given that the DUI Alternative Jail Program takes only a weekend to complete, Pittsburgh DUI hotels have grown in popularity amongst those facing first-time DUI convictions.

DUI Hotels—A Second Choice for DUI Offenders

In Allegheny County, first-time DUI offenders have a new way of fulfilling their DUI sentences. Now, first-time DUI offenders can serve mandatory jail terms in hotels. By completing a three-day treatment program through the DUI Alternative Jail Program, offenders can take part in evaluations, drug and alcohol education, and treatment sessions in a hotel setting over a single weekend, rather than over the course of weeks from inside a jail.

The DUI hotel is designed to serve as an alternative to jail time, which can cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Besides pointing to the money-saving benefits of the program, proponents of DUI hotels argue that most first-time DUI offenders don’t belong behind bars; rather, they can undergo treatment in an alternate facility.

Who Qualifies for a DUI Hotel?

One of the most controversial aspects of the DUI hotel is its cost. Hotel participants who can’t afford the program cost—staring at $500—still end up facing jail time, often in less comfortable facilities. Furthermore, their treatment program is extended over weeks, rather than over a single weekend. Opponents of the DUI hotel program say that by privileging those who can pay, the program doesn’t treat all DUI offenders equally.

Not everyone can take part in a DUI hotel. In order to be eligible for a DUI hotel, offenders must be ineligible for Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program and be facing a first-time DUI, punishable by up to a 72-hour jail sentence. While Allegheny County is the first county in Pennsylvania to offer a DUI hotel as an alternative to jail time, additional counties in Pennsylvania, including Westmoreland County, are considering adopting such programs in the near future.

How Our Skilled Pittsburgh DUI Lawyers Can Help You

Need help defending yourself against a Pennsylvania DUI charge? If you’re facing DUI charges and want to know whether you’re eligible for participation in the DUI Alternative Jail Program, contact one of the experienced Pittsburgh DUI lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today. We can help you determine whether you qualify to stay at a DUI hotel and can evaluate your case to determine whether a DUI hotel might be the best option for you. For a free, initial consultation, call one of our skilled Pittsburgh DUI lawyers at (412) 281-2146 today.

How Can I Remove a DUI from Criminal Record in Pennsylvania?

Anyone with a DUI conviction who’s been refused a job, housing option, or professional license knows the pain of having a DUI offense on a criminal record. Fortunately, Pennsylvania allows individuals to erase parts of their criminal record in a process known as expungement. Expungement applies to minor offenses, include non-convictions—such as verdicts of not-guilty, dismissals, and withdrawal of charges—convictions, such as summary offenses, and certain plea bargains, including Probation Without Verdict and Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition.

For DUI offenses, certain convictions can be automatically expunged ten years after the original conviction following successful completion of an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, provided that no subsequent conviction occurs within 10 years, and the conviction relates to a first-time DUI offense in which no other person was seriously injured or killed, and no passenger in the offender’s vehicle was under 14 years of age at the time of the offense.

If you’re seeking to remove a first-time DUI from your criminal record, the most straightforward option is to enroll in an ARD program at the time of your hearing. Successful completion of an ARD program can result in the automatic removal of your criminal record after 10 years.

5 Steps to Getting Your Record Removed Through The ARD Program

  1. Determine Whether ARD Is Right For You — Speaking with an experienced Pittsburgh DUI lawyer can help you to determine whether seeking admission into the ARD program is a smart first step. In many cases, agreeing to take part in the ARD program as part of a plea bargain package is beneficial. However, depending on the strength of the prosecutor’s case and the circumstances of your arrest, it may make more sense to fight your charges. Consulting with a skilled Pittsburgh DUI lawyer can help you to determine whether the ARD program is the best option for you.

  2. Undertake a Full Drug and Alcohol Assessment — A full drug and alcohol assessment may be required if your BAC was over .16, or there are indications that you may need evaluation for counseling or treatment. Undertaking a full drug and alcohol assessment may be required before you are eligible to take part in the ARD program.

  3. Participate in the ARD Program — Participation in the ARD program can involve probation supervision; drug or substance use evaluation, treatment, and counseling; license suspension; and restitution to those who faced loss as a result of your DUI offense. Participation in the ARD program could take a period of months or years, depending on the circumstances of your case.

  4. Pay Fees and Costs of Program — Fees associated with the ARD program can include Alcohol Highway Safety School fees and evaluation and treatment costs. Payment of fees and costs may be necessary to meet court-ordered requirements.

  5. File a Motion of Expungement in the Department of Court Records, If Necessary — In Allgeheny County, a criminal record can only be expunged after a motion for expungement is brought to the Department of Court Records Criminal Division and granted by an order of court from the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. For first-time offenders and participants in the ARD program after 1990, this happens automatically after 10 years; for those who participated in the program before 1990, however, an offender must file a motion to expunge his or her DUI criminal record.

  6. How Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC Can Help You

    If you’re facing a DUI charge and want to expunge it from your criminal record, contact one of our experienced DUI lawyers for a free, initial consultation. We can help you to determine whether participating in the ARD program is the best option for you. To take the first step in removing a DUI offense from your criminal record, call us at (412) 281-2146 today.

    Traffic Ticket and Municipal Fine Payment Plans: The Real Cost of Your Traffic Ticket

    We’ve all done something that could get us a municipal ticket at some point in our lives. Whether you were ticketed or not, you probably have sped or at least jaywalked at one time. We have been there too. These types of traffic tickets and municipal fines are often seen as a nuisance more than anything else, and it is tempting to ignore them rather than fight the ticket. Unfortunately, few people realize the true cost of these tickets, beyond just the base fine.

    For many people, a couple hundred dollar fine for a minor infraction seems unworthy of spending the time to contest in court. After all, payment plans are available in most of Pennsylvania. What many people don’t realize, though, is that many payment plans come with additional fees, which can make the seemingly small fine unmanageable for the average American. Even worse, if you fall behind on payments due to financial hardship or even a simple mistake, you face worse consequences. In certain cases, you could even lose your license or find yourself serving some jail time.

    What Are My Options When It Comes to Traffic Tickets?

    If you have been ticketed for a traffic offense or other minor municipal infraction, you don’t have to simply pay the fine. You have a right to have your case heard in court. With the help off a Pittsburgh traffic lawyer, you may be able to lessen the charges you face or even get them dismissed. In addition, you may be able to negotiate for community service or a lesser fine, which will make the burden of a ticketless difficult to manage. Though it may not seem like it, an infraction that “only” requires a fine can lead to much more serious consequences.

    Don’t let a traffic ticket cost you big. Make sure that you know exactly what your options are before paying the fine, so that you can choose the best option. Even if you can afford the ticket, you may not be considering the long-term financial consequences of the ticket on your car insurance and the points on your license. Call the Pittsburgh traffic lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation on your case. We will sit down with you and give you a realistic assessment of your situation so that you can decide on the best course of action for you.

    The Privacy Issues of License Plate Recognition Data

    You may have noticed cameras on the roadways of Pennsylvania collecting license plate numbers. As you drive along the roadway, your license plate number and your presence will be recorded whether you are involved in a high-speed police chase or dutifully stopping at every red light. Most people don’t think twice about these cameras, but what is all this data really used for?

    The purpose of the cameras is to feed the numbers into license plate recognition software and flag any plates associated with criminal activity. This could be as minor as recording you running a red light, but the majority of the software focuses on identifying the plates of stolen cars or those associated with fugitives. While catching these criminals may be great, for every criminal recorded by the cameras for the license plate recognition software, there are hundreds of thousands of innocent people recorded.

    This data is kept for about five years until it is recorded over, raising some real privacy concerns. The proliferation of these cameras throughout Pittsburgh and other cities allow most cars to be followed through any path they may choose. According to the ACLU, this data collection essentially allows law enforcement to track where you are at all times. These sentiments are even echoed by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. According to Zappala, “If you come into the city and commit a crime, they will find you.” Although this may be a comforting thought if you are concerned about major crimes, it can be chilling if you consider that any person could eventually be under suspicion and tracked easily with this software.

    What The Privacy Issues of License Plate Cameras Mean for Pittsburgh

    The license plate cameras may be well-intended, but they are ripe for abuse without proper legislation. The ACLU recommends that at the very least, the data on innocent be held for fewer than 30 days. This would allow policing of roadways to continue, but minimize the impact on those not flagged by the license plate recognition software.

    The enormous (and growing) database of motorists’ movements within Pennsylvania already has sparked concerns about privacy within organizations across the state. A real discussion needs to be had weighing privacy concerns with policing needs. Proper Pittsburgh legislation will be necessary, as well.

    In the meantime, Pittsburgh citizens should be aware of the cameras and make their concerns public. If you have been caught and arrested due to this kind of software, you need to be aware of all your rights. Call the Pittsburgh defense lawyers Michael Worgul and Samir Sarna today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we will aggressively defend your rights and your privacy.

Why Hire Us?