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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. PATRICK J. SCHAUER (09/12/83)

decided: September 12, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLANT
v.
PATRICK J. SCHAUER, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Elk County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Patrick J. Schauer, No. 80-621.

COUNSEL

Francis P. Bach, Assistant Counsel, with him Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, Ward T. Williams, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for appellant.

David A. Whitney, Cartwright, Fernan & Whitney, for appellee.

Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 126]

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety (DOT), appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Elk County sustaining the appeal of the appellee Patrick J. Schauer to quash his license suspension.

The appellee was stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol whereupon he was requested by the arresting officer to go to the police station to submit to a breathalyzer test. Upon arriving at the police station the appellee refused to submit to the test. A short time later, when the appellee was about to leave the station, he requested that he be given a blood test. The officer refused and subsequently DOT suspended the appellee's license for six months pursuant to Section 1547(b) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1547(b).

The Court of Common Pleas held that the Commonwealth did not comply with Section 1547(i) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1547(i), in that it was reasonably practicable to honor the appellee's request for a blood test. We disagree.

Section 1547(b) states in part:

(b) Suspension for refusal. --

(1) If any person placed under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol is requested to submit to a chemical test and refuses to do so, the test shall not be given but upon notice by the police officer, the department shall:

(i) suspend the operating privilege of the person for a period of six months. . . .

This statute makes clear, that once a person is requested to submit to a chemical test and refuses to do so, on this basis alone, DOT is required to suspend his operating privileges. See Stitzer v. ...


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