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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROMA VON ALTIMUS (02/07/80)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: February 7, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLANT
v.
ROMA VON ALTIMUS, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety, Appellant v. Roma Von Altimus, Appellee, No. 1978-1511.

COUNSEL

Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for appellant.

No appearance for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer. Judge DiSalle did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Mencer

[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 246]

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety (Department) revoked the operating privileges of Roma Von Altimus (licensee) for 9 years as a result of his conviction of four felony offenses involving motor vehicles.*fn1 A revocation of 1 year was imposed under 75 Pa. C.S. § 1532(a)(1)*fn2 for each of the first two convictions processed. For the third conviction, an additional 5-year revocation was imposed under 75 Pa. C.S. § 1542, based upon the determination that licensee was a "habitual offender" as defined by that section.*fn3 Finally, for the fourth conviction, an additional 2-year revocation was imposed under 75 Pa. C.S. § 1542(e). On appeal, the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County found that the revocations

[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 247]

    were warranted but that the 5-year revocation mandated by Section 1542(d) was to run concurrently with the two 1-year revocations mandated by Section 1532(a), thereby reducing the total period of revocation to 7 years. The Department appeals, contending that the lower court erred in concluding that the revocation periods run concurrently.*fn4

Section 1542 fails to indicate whether the 5-year revocation is to run concurrently or consecutively with the prior 1-year revocations mandated by Section 1532(a). Section 1544(d), however, provides: "When any person's record shows a conviction calling for revocation of the operating privilege during a period of revocation, the department shall extend the existing period of revocation for the appropriate period and the person shall be so notified in writing." We are of the firm opinion that the phrase "shall extend the existing period of revocation" requires the imposition of consecutive revocations. This meaning is consistent with the remaining provisions in Section 1544. For example, Section 1544(a) provides that "the department shall extend the existing period of suspension or

[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 248]

    revocation at the rate of five days for each additional point." Unless the 5-day penalty were imposed consecutively, practically, it would seldom have any effect.

It is also more reasonable to impose consecutive revocations as this provides uniform penalties to motorists who violate the Vehicle Code. Concurrent revocations may create disparate penalties dependent upon the time in which the convictions were accumulated. For example, in this case, the licensee who accumulated three convictions concurrently would be subject to a maximum 5-year revocation whereas one whose three convictions were spaced over a period of years could face 7 years of revocation.

In determining legislative intent, we are mindful that we may look to other similar statutory provisions, to the object to be attained, and to the consequences of a particular interpretation. 1 Pa. C.S. § 1921(c). For the reasons above, we are convinced that the legislature intended to and did provide for the consecutive imposition of revocations.

Order affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Order

And Now, this 7th day of February, 1980, the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County, dated July 25, 1978, in the above captioned case, is affirmed, except for that part of the order directing the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety, to limit the total revocation imposed to 7 years, which is reversed. We hereby direct the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety, to reinstate its original orders revoking the operating privilege of Roma Von Altimus for a total period of 9 years.

Judge DiSalle did not participate in the decision in this case.

Disposition

Reversed. Original revocation order reinstated.


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