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JANICE ANNE ASCOLESE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/25/87)

decided: March 25, 1987.

JANICE ANNE ASCOLESE, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Janice Anne Ascolese, No. 84-1984.

COUNSEL

Joseph M. Devecka, for appellant.

Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, with him, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Henry G. Barr, General Counsel, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 95]

Janice Anne Ascolese (appellant) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County (trial court) which, after conducting a de novo hearing,

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 96]

    affirmed the suspension of appellant's motor vehicle operating privileges. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) suspended appellant's license for refusing to submit to a chemical analysis of her breath pursuant to Section 1547(b) of the Vehicle Code (Code).*fn1 For the reasons advanced herein, we affirm.

Our review of this case indicates that appellant was arrested on April 22, 1984, upon the charge of driving while intoxicated. Following her arrest, appellant was transported to the State College Bureau of Police Officers, so that the police officers could administer a chemial analysis of her breath. Appellant refused to submit to the breath test and her license was suspended as a matter of course.

These facts indicate that the requirements of Section 1547(b) of the Code had been met and that appellant's license was properly suspended.*fn2 Appellant, however, argues that her voluntary intoxication prevented her from knowingly and consciously refusing a chemical test. She asserts that since she was incapable of refusing the chemical test, her license was improperly suspended.

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 97]

This is the same argument appellant raised before the trial court. In that instance, the trial court ruled that this precise issue had been decided in DOT's favor in Walthour v. Department of Transportation, 74 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 53, 458 A.2d 1066 (1983).

In her appeal to this Court, appellant requests that we reverse Walthour and remand to the trial court to determine whether, due to her intoxication, she lacked the capacity to knowingly refuse. We shall deny appellant's request and affirm the order of the trial court. In doing so, we, as a Court en banc, state that voluntary intoxication may not serve as a defense in a license suspension procedure based upon refusal to submit to statutorily prescribed testing for blood alcohol content. ...


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