After you are convicted of a Pennsylvania DUI charge by either pleading guilty or being found guilty after a trial, many clients ask what happens to my PA driver’s license. Your lawyer should have explained the Pennsylvania DUI-DAI law to you, including the penalties. Your license suspension is set by statute depending on your blood alcohol level and whether it was your first, second, third or drunk driving offense. You can find a handy chart that lists suspension periods here.
Assuming that you know the length of time that your driver’s license suspension will be, the question is when you will lose your license. In Pennsylvania, your driver’s license is not usually suspended or taken away at your final DUI-DAI common pleas court hearing.
Pennsylvania procedure is that the sentencing judge will find you guilty and mark the docket with a guilty finding. Pennsylvania court judges do not have the power to adjust the length of your PA DUI-DAI suspension period. These periods are set by law.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) coordinates your PA DUI-DAI driver’s license suspension. After your conviction, the court will notify PennDot of your conviction. In about 2 weeks after your final court appearance you should be getting a letter in the mail from PennDot informing you that your Pennsylvania driver’s license will be suspended on a certain date.
At this point, it is your responsibility to physically turn in your driver’s license to a PennDot Driver’s Services Center. At the point that PennDot actually receives your physical driver’s license, that is when your suspension will begin. If you do not turn in your PA license, your suspension will not start.
If you have lost your PA driver’s license you can fill-out a PennDot form. This form notifies PennDot that you no longer have a physical license and that you cannot turn it in.