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WILSON MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR LICENSE CASE (06/22/71)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: June 22, 1971.

WILSON MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR LICENSE CASE

Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County, No. SA-297 of 1970, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. David R. Wilson.

COUNSEL

Anthony J. Maiorana, Assistant Attorney General, with him Elmer T. Bolla, Deputy Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellant.

No oral argument was made nor brief submitted for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Jacobs, J. Cercone, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Jacobs

[ 218 Pa. Super. Page 309]

In this case, the Commonwealth appeals from an order of the court below reversing the action of the Secretary

[ 218 Pa. Super. Page 310]

    of Revenue in assigning six points to appellee's driving record and ordering him to attend driver-improvement school under the provisions of § 619.1 of The Vehicle Code of April 29, 1959, P. L. 58, as amended, 75 P.S. § 619.1. The Commonwealth argues that the licensee has no right to appeal to the common pleas court from the imposition of points under § 619.1.

Appellee was arrested, on August 1, 1969, in Bedford County, for exceeding the speed limit by 12 m.p.h. On August 22, 1969, he appeared before a justice of the peace in Bedford County and paid the fine and costs for this violation.*fn1 A report of the conviction was sent to the Secretary of Revenue who assigned six points to appellee's driving record as mandated by § 619.1(b) of The Vehicle Code. The secretary also ordered him to attend driver-improvement school as mandated by § 619.1(f) of The Vehicle Code.

Rather than attend driver-improvement school, appellee appealed the order of the secretary to the court below. The Commonwealth moved to quash the appeal, but the lower court denied the motion and sustained the appeal.

In reversing the action of the secretary, the lower court held that: (1) an appeal lies from an improper assessment of points even if the total points assessed will not result in a suspension, and (2) because of the circumstances and misrepresentations underlying the conviction, relief should be granted.*fn2 The second holding

[ 218 Pa. Super. Page 311]

    need not be considered since we find that the court below erred in allowing an appeal from an imposition of points not resulting in a suspension.

In order for a person to have a right of appeal from an order of the secretary, The Vehicle Code must provide for such an appeal. Cf. Brennan's Case, 344 Pa. 209, 25 A.2d 155 (1942); Ullman Motor Vehicle Operator License Case, 204 Pa. Superior Ct. 145, 203 A.2d 386 (1964). At present, the only portion of The Vehicle Code relating to appeals is contained in § 620. That section provides, inter alia, that "[a]ny person whose operator's license or learner's permit has been suspended, or who has been deprived of the privilege of applying for an operator's license or learner's permit under the provisions of this act, shall have the right to file a petition . . . for a hearing in the matter in the court of common pleas of the county in which the operator or permittee resides. . . ." Thus, a person can appeal from a suspension or a denial of the privilege of applying for a license. No right is given to appeal from an imposition of points. Since there is no statutory authority for appealing an imposition of points, the lower court erred in not quashing the instant appeal.*fn3

[ 218 Pa. Super. Page 312]

The court below felt that a denial of relief would deny the licensee his day in court; however, as noted in Nyman Motor Vehicle Operator License Case, 218 Pa. Superior Ct. 221, 275 A.2d 836 (1971), "[t]he law provides an orderly procedure for attacking summary convictions." Appellee could have appealed his conviction directly to the Bedford County Court of Common Pleas. Also, if and when his license is suspended, he may then appeal to the lower court and show that he was not convicted or that the points were improperly assigned.

The order of the court below is reversed and the order of the secretary is reinstated.

Disposition

Order of court below reversed and order of secretary reinstated.


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