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GREER MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR LICENSE CASE (09/11/69)

decided: September 11, 1969.

GREER MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR LICENSE CASE


Appeals from orders of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Nos. 7684 and 13227 of 1968, in cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Daniel Lee Greer.

COUNSEL

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 Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Jacobs, J.

Author: Jacobs

[ 215 Pa. Super. Page 68]

The Commonwealth has appealed from two orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, both of which revoke orders of the Secretary of Revenue suspending the appellee's operator's license. Two suspensions are involved, each resulting from driving while the appellee's license was suspended under a prior suspension. We will treat both appeals to us in one opinion, as did the lower court.

On March 31, 1965, appellee was involved in an accident. Approximately one year later, on March 29, 1966, the Secretary of Revenue suspended his operator's license under section 1404 of The Vehicle Code, 75 P.S. § 1404, for failure to post the security required of an uninsured motorist. Appellee did not appeal from that suspension.

By virtue of section 1407 of The Vehicle Code, suspension under section 1404 continues until the person suspended deposits the required security or satisfies the secretary that arrangements have been made concerning his liability, or until "[o]ne (1) year shall have elapsed following the date of such accident, and evidence satisfactory to the secretary has been filed with him that during such period no action for damages arising out of such accident has been instituted. . . ." 75 P.S. § 1407(2). Appellee did nothing about the suspension and was arrested for driving on July 15, 1967, and again on October 14, 1967. On May 7, 1968, the suspension of March 29, 1966, was finally terminated

[ 215 Pa. Super. Page 69]

    when appellee filed an affidavit with the secretary stating that during one year after the accident no action for damages was instituted.

Appellee was indicted twice in Delaware County for driving after suspension, a misdemeanor, once for the violation of July 15, 1967, and once for the violation of October 14, 1967. On March 28, 1968, he pled guilty to both indictments. Sentence was suspended on the offense of July 15, 1967, and for the later offense appellee was fined $200 and jailed for seven days. The court's action was certified to the Secretary of Revenue and on May 27, 1968, the appellee was notified that his operator's license was suspended for one year, effective June 6, 1968, for the violation of July 15, 1967. On August 7, 1968, he was notified that his operator's license was suspended for one year, effective August 20, 1968, for the violation of October 14, 1967. Appellee appealed to the lower court, which reversed both suspensions.

The lower court held that in No. 7684 of 1968, where sentence was suspended, there was no conviction upon which the secretary could suspend the appellee's license. The court also found that the original suspension in 1966 was improper because the secretary waited almost one year after the accident to issue the suspension. The court reversed the secretary on these two conclusions of law and its opinion that the suspensions were unfair and unjust.

In appeals of this nature our duty is to examine the testimony to determine whether the findings of the court below are supported by competent evidence and to correct any erroneous conclusions of law. The action of the hearing court may not be interfered with upon appeal except for a manifest abuse of discretion or error of law. ...


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