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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WILLIAM M. DINKINS (01/20/81)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: January 20, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLANT
v.
WILLIAM M. DINKINS, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William M. Dinkins, No. 2077 S 1979.

COUNSEL

Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Attorney General, with him Ward T. Williams, Chief Counsel, Transportation, and Harvey Bartle, III, Acting Attorney General, for appellant.

No appearance for appellee.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Craig and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 183]

The Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety (department) appeals from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County sustaining the appeal of William M. Dinkins from the department's order suspending his operating privilege under Section 1539 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1539. We reverse.

As of July 1, 1977, Dinkins' record reflected three points. On May 22, 1978, the department suspended his license indefinitely for failure to respond to a speeding citation issued on July 3, 1977. On July 17,

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 1841978]

, the department imposed a second suspension, for failure to respond to a citation issued April 29, 1978 for reckless driving.

On January 3, 1979, Dinkins paid the fines and costs on the July 3, 1977 citation and also on a third citation which had been issued for speeding on July 4, 1977. On January 4, 1979, he paid the fines and costs on the April 29, 1978 citation.

The department restored Dinkins' license on January 22, 1979, and, pursuant to Section 1545 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1545, thereupon raised his point total to five points.*fn1 The correctness of that action of the department is the key issue here.

In April 1979, the department received certifications of Dinkins' convictions on the July 3 and July 4, 1977 citations, and assessed three more points against his record for each conviction, making his total accumulation eleven points. In view of that new total, the department suspended Dinkins' license for a third time.*fn2 This appeal is from that third suspension.

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 185]

This case is controlled by our decision in Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Gearhart, 50 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 474, 413 A.2d 1161 (1980) which had not been decided when the trial court here made its decision. In Gearhart we held that a non-point suspension for failure to respond to a citation is also to be considered a suspension under Section 1545, which calls for the driver's record to show five points upon restoration from suspension.

Because the third suspension was therefore founded upon a proper point total, the court's order must be reversed, and the suspension reinstated.

Order

And Now, January 20, 1981, the July 12, 1979 order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, at No. 2077 S 1979, sustaining the appeal of William M. Dinkins, is reversed, and the 165-day suspension imposed by the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety, is reinstated.

Disposition

Reversed.


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