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DEAN A. SUTHERLAND v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/07/79)

decided: September 7, 1979.

DEAN A. SUTHERLAND, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Dean A. Sutherland, No. 77-4015.

COUNSEL

William J. Ricci, with him Edward F. Muller, Jr., and Lawhorne, Muller & Bowie, for appellant.

Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Attorney General, with him Francis P. Bach, Assistant Attorney General, Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Acting Attorney General, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer, Blatt, DiSalle, Craig and MacPhail. Judges Wilkinson, Jr. and Rogers did not participate. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Judge DiSalle concurs in result only.

Author: Macphail

[ 45 Pa. Commw. Page 491]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County dismissing the appeal of Dean A. Sutherland (Appellant) from an order of the Secretary of Transportation revoking his operating privileges for a period of one year.

The following facts were stipulated before the trial court. On January 4, 1977, Appellant, a resident of Delaware County, pleaded guilty to operating his motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a violation of Section 1037 of The Vehicle Code (Code), Act of April 29, 1959, P.L. 58, as amended, formerly 75 P.S. 1037,*fn1 in the Court of Common Pleas

[ 45 Pa. Commw. Page 492]

    of Cumberland County, where the violation occurred. Upon receipt of notice of Appellant's plea, the Secretary issued an order revoking Appellant's operating privileges for one year pursuant to Section 616(a)(1) of the Code, formerly 75 P.S. ยง 616(a)(1).*fn2

At the time Appellant's plea of guilty was entered, Cumberland County had no Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.*fn3 Delaware County did have such a program, and, had Appellant been admitted thereto, it is probable that his operator's license would have been taken from him for a period of three months.*fn4

Appellant contends that it is impermissible under the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution to make the revocation of one's driving privileges for violating Section 1037 of the Code dependent on the county in which one is prosecuted.

Initially, we consider it important to observe the differences between what happens to the accused under the ARD program and what happens to him where no such program exists. Where ARD is in effect, the accused is admitted to the program at the discretion of the court before any plea is made to an information or indictment. If he is admitted to the program, the rehabilitative measures are more or less at the ...


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