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COMMONWEALTH v. HEPLER (06/29/71)

decided: June 29, 1971.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
HEPLER



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County, Civil Action -- Law at No. 55 July Term, 1970, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Kenneth Hepler.

COUNSEL

Anthony J. Maiorana, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for appellant.

John T. Pfeiffer, III, with him John B. McGurl, for appellee.

Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 2 Pa. Commw. Page 518]

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County reversing the order of the Secretary of Revenue (now the Secretary of Transportation) suspending the motor vehicle license of Kenneth Hepler for seventy-five days.

On November 15, 1966, appellee was apprehended by the Pennsylvania State Police using radar for speeding 55 m.p.h. in a 45 m.p.h. zone in violation of Section 1002(c) of The Vehicle Code, Act of April 29, 1959, P.L. 58, as amended, 75 P.S. ยง 1002(c). An information was filed against him, and, without appearing before the Magistrate, he pleaded guilty and paid the fine and costs on June 29, 1967. A report of this conviction was sent to the Department of Revenue by the Magistrate, and three points were assigned to appellee's record as mandated by Section 619.1(b) of the Code.*fn1

On January 25, 1968, appellee was again apprehended by the State Police for failure to drive upon the right half of the highway in violation of Section 1004 of the Code.*fn2 After an information was filed and without appearing before the Magistrate, appellee again pleaded guilty and paid the fine and costs on June 28, 1968. As a result, three more points were assigned to his record making his total point accumulation six points for the first time. He therefore was directed to attend Driver Improvement School, as mandated by Section 619.1(f),*fn3 which he subsequently completed satisfactorily thereby receiving a one point credit toward his record. Two more points were credited to his record on June 28, 1969, pursuant to Section 619.1 (j),*fn4 for lack of any Vehicle Code conviction for the

[ 2 Pa. Commw. Page 519]

    year following that recorded on June 28, 1968.

His record now showed three points, but on June 5, 1969, he was apprehended for disobeying a traffic signal in violation of Section 1028(a),*fn5 and on July 15, 1969, he pleaded guilty to such violation and paid the fine and costs. Five points were subsequently added to his record, which now showed six or more points for the second time. Section 619.1(g)*fn6 therefore demanded that appellee take a special examination, which he later passed.

Finally, on February 13, 1970, appellee was apprehended for speeding 65 m.p.h. in a 45 m.p.h. zone, again a violation of Section 1002(c). After an information was filed, appellee failed to appear before the Magistrate but pleaded guilty and paid the fine and costs on March 17, 1970. Six points were added to appellee's record making a total of fourteen points. As a result, Section 619.1(b) dictated a 15 day suspension for exceeding the speed limit by 20 m.p.h., and Sections 619.1 (i) and (k)*fn7 mandated a 60 day suspension, these two penalties to run consecutively, effective May 7, 1970.

Appellee appealed these suspensions to the court below which, after a hearing, reversed the Secretary's order on the basis that Commonwealth's Exhibit No. 5 (certification of the June 28, 1968, conviction to the Secretary) was not admissible because it was void of any signature (thus crediting appellee's record with three points), and that Commonwealth's Exhibit No. 2 on its face did not credit appellee with a deduction of two points for each year he drove without ...


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