Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Carbon County, April T., 1968, No. 26, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Thomas A. Klitsch.
Elmer T. Bolla, Deputy Attorney General, with him William C. Sennett, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellant.
No argument was made nor brief submitted for appellee.
Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Hannum, JJ. Opinion by Jacobs, J.
[ 213 Pa. Super. Page 54]
The Secretary of Revenue notified the appellee on four separate occasions of the suspension of his operator's license.*fn1 No appeal was taken to the lower court from any suspension except the last one which was for a period of one year beginning July 11, 1968. Appellee was notified of this suspension by the secretary on April 21, 1967, and filed his appeal with the lower court on February 2, 1968. The Commonwealth appeals to us from the order of the lower court reversing this last suspension.
Two arguments are advanced by the Commonwealth: that the appeal to the lower court was premature and that under the facts of the case the lower court abused its discretion in reversing the secretary.
[ 213 Pa. Super. Page 55]
The Commonwealth's argument on prematurity arises from section 620 of The Vehicle Code, 75 P.S. § 620, which provides for appeal from suspension of operator's licenses:
"Any person, whose operator's license or learner's permit has been suspended. . . shall have the right to file a petition, within thirty (30) days thereafter, for a hearing in the matter in the court of common pleas of the county in which the operator or permittee resides. . . ." (Emphasis added.)
The proper time to appeal a suspension, the Commonwealth contends, is within thirty days after the suspension becomes effective, and not before. It argues that the thirty day appeal period begins to run, not from the date of the secretary's action ordering suspension, but from the date that suspension takes effect. The basis of this argument is that the license, in the statutory language, "has been suspended" only when that suspension takes effect.
We believe the most reasonable interpretation of the statutory language and the most sensible practice is to hold that the thirty day appeal period runs from the time notice of the secretary's action is received by the licensee.*fn2
The language of section 620 supports this conclusion: An appeal is taken from the action of the secretary in suspending an operator's license. The secretary's action takes place when he makes the order of suspension, regardless of when it is to take effect. The remainder of section 620 directs the courts "to determine whether the petitioner is subject to suspension of operator's license. . . ." In other words, the court ...