PennDoT suspending licenses for dated drug charges
If you have been convicted of drug charges, such as the violation of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act at any time in the last ten years, then you are likely one of many Pennsylvania residents who have received a notice from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDoT) that says your driver’s license will be suspended. If you have received one of these notices, you likely do not have to worry. The notices were sent out after a state-conducted audit that determined a state-funded Clerk of Courts Office did not report drug convictions to PennDoT so that PennDoT could administer the appropriate license suspensions. As a result of this audit, Pennsylvania Clerk of Courts offices have been auditing their own records and then reporting drug crime convictions to PennDoT from as far back as ten years ago in 2004. And because there was never a time limit put into place for PennDoT to issue driver’s license penalties, suspension notices have been sent out to people who either thought they had already served their suspension time, or who not aware of the driver’s license suspension requirements that arose because of their drug crimes convictions. People who have received these driver’s license suspension notices are encouraged to apply for an Occupational Limited License, also known as an OLL or bread and butter license, to get exclusively to and from work. In the past, being convicted under the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act (CSDDCA) would mark the arrested individual as ineligible to apply for the OLL. In order to combat this old legislation, Governor Corbett signed Act 129 of 2014 last October, which creates an exception that now allows people who were convicted of a violation of the CSDDCA to apply for the OLL. In addition, Act 129 requires Clerk of Courts offices to forward any old, unreported CSDDCA convictions to PennDoT by January 2016, after which all Clerks of Courts must submit conviction info to PennDoT with ten days of a court ruling. If it is not submitted within ten days, then PennDoT may not take any further action regarding license penalties. The gist of this story is that PennDoT screwed up and as a way to raise revenue, it began suspending licenses and fining people for drug convictions from more than ten years ago. If you have questions about this situation or are having problems with PennDoT issuing you an OLL, call Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Gary Gerson for a free consultation at 412-219-6875.