No. 00060 HBG 83, Appeal from the Order entered January 31, 1983 in the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County, Criminal Division, at Misc. No. 32-1982.
Andrew H. Cline, Harrisburg, for Commonwealth, appellant.
John B. Mancke, Harrisburg, for appellee.
Wickersham, Olszewski and Hoffman, JJ.
[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 250]
On appeal, the Commonwealth contends that the lower court erred in dismissing the charges against appellee. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the order below.
On August 30, 1982, appellee, the defendant below, drove his tractor-trailer over a stone-arch bridge which had a posted ten-ton weight restriction. Because the vehicle was determined to be over the weight limit, he was issued a citation by the state trooper for violation of § 4902(a) of the Vehicle Code. See 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4902(a). On October 8, 1982, at the hearing before the District Justice of the Peace, the Commonwealth moved to amend the citation to allege a violation of § 4902(g)(1) of the Vehicle Code. Over appellee's objection, the motion to amend was granted. The District Justice offered appellee a continuance which his counsel declined. Appellee was then found guilty of violating
[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 251]
§ 4902(g)(1). On appeal de novo from this summary conviction, the lower court, upon appellee's motion to quash, dismissed the case on January 31, 1983, finding that the amendment was improper. This Commonwealth appeal followed.
The Commonwealth argues that the lower court erred in dismissing the case because appellee was not actually prejudiced by the amendment to the citation. We agree. Pa.R.Crim.P. 52 A.1.(e) requires that every citation contain "a citation of the specific section and subsection of the statute or ordinance allegedly violated, together with a summary of the facts sufficient to advise the defendant of the nature of the offense charged[.]" The rationale for Rule 52 A.1.(e)'s requirements is to give the defendant fair notice of the nature of the unlawful act for which he is charged. Hill v. Commonwealth, 68 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 71, 448 A.2d 106 (1982). Where the citation contains defects, we must look to Rule 70 for the consequences. Pa.R.Crim.P. 52 comment. Rule 70 provides that:
A defendant shall not be discharged nor shall a case be dismissed because of a defect in the form or content of a complaint, citation, summons, or warrant, or a defect in the proceedings of this Chapter, unless the defendant raises the defect before the conclusion of the summary trial and the defect is prejudicial to the rights of the defendant.
Pa.R.Crim.P. 70 (emphasis added). "As a condition of relief regardless of whether the defect is in form, content, or procedure, the court or issuing authority must determine that there is actual prejudice to ...