Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Woodrow J. Zeitlen, No. 1400 S 1984.
Peter B. Foster, Pinskey & Foster, for appellant.
Lawrence R. Wieder, Assistant Counsel, with him, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Henry G. Barr, General Counsel, for appellee.
Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
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Woodrow J. Zeitlen appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County affirming
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the Department of Transportation's suspension of his operating privileges. We affirm.
On his guilty plea, Mr. Zeitlen was convicted of violating section 3743 of the Vehicle Code, as amended, 75 Pa. C.S. § 3743, which proscribes leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to a vehicle or other property. The department, upon notification of Mr. Zeitlen's conviction, suspended his operating privileges for six months, pursuant to section 1532(b) of the Vehicle Code.
Mr. Zeitlen appealed from the department's order to the trial court. After a hearing, the trial court concluded that Mr. Zeitlen could not collaterally attack the merits of his conviction in the license suspension appeal, and affirmed the order of the department.
The issue on appeal is whether a motorist, in a license suspension appeal, is entitled to a de novo hearing on the merits of the conviction which led to his license suspension.
This court in Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Valentine, 71 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 8, 453 A.2d 742 (1982), held that "[i]t is clear that in a license suspension appeal the only issues are whether the licensee was in fact convicted and whether the Bureau has acted in accordance with applicable law. The underlying criminal conviction may not be challenged in a suspension appeal, which is civil in nature." 71 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. at 10, 453 A.2d at 743.
Mr. Zeitlen contends that Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Quinlan, 47 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 214, 408 A.2d 173 (1979) and Liebler v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 83 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 270, 476 A.2d 1389 (1984) are controlling. However, those cases held that a ...