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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROBERT S. SCHOEPPNER (07/06/87)

decided: July 6, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLANT
v.
ROBERT S. SCHOEPPNER, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Robert S. Schoeppner, No. S.A. 690-84.

COUNSEL

Stephen F. J. Martin, Assistant Counsel, with him, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for appellant.

No appearance for appellee.

Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 243]

The Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety (DOT) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County (trial court) which sustained the appeal of Robert S. Schoeppner (Schoeppner) from DOT's suspension of his operating privileges pursuant to Section 1539 of the Vehicle Code (Code), 75 Pa. C.S. § 1539.

On July 19, 1983, Schoeppner was cited for violating Section 3323(b)*fn1 and Section 3112(a)*fn2 of the Code. Schoeppner was convicted of the violations. As a result of the first conviction, DOT assessed three points against Schoeppner on August 22, 1983. A second assessment of three points was made on August 29, 1983 for Schoeppner's second conviction. On September 9, 1983, DOT notified Schoeppner that he was required to pass a special exam or be subject to a suspension of his operating privileges pursuant to Section 1538(a) of the Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1538(a). Schoeppner passed the exam and two points were removed from his driving record reducing his total points to four. On October 22, 1983, Schoeppner was cited for a violation of Section

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 2443362]

*fn3 of the Code and was convicted on November 7, 1983. After certification of his conviction to DOT, DOT assessed four points to Schoeppner's driving record. His point total was now eight, and therefore, Schoeppner was required to attend a departmental hearing. After the hearing, DOT suspended Schoeppner's operating privileges effective June 18, 1984, for fifteen days. Schoeppner did not appeal the suspension.

On December 27, 1983, Schoeppner violated Section 3322 of the Code*fn4 and after certification of his conviction, three points were added to his driving record. His point total then equaled eleven; DOT notified Schoeppner that his operating privileges were to be suspended for 110 days in accordance with Section 1539 of the Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1539. Schoeppner appealed his suspension to the trial court which sustained the appeal.

The trial court, in sustaining the appeal, held that three of Schoeppner's points were improperly assessed for a violation occurring on July 19, 1983 because both violations on that date were the "result of the same act". The trial court based its conclusion on the fact that the citations were issued by the same officer, at the same stopping, and occurred two minutes apart. In addition, the trial court held that DOT's action was an unfair exercise of discretion because DOT assessed points for an additional violation after notice was sent to Schoeppner to attend the departmental hearing.

On appeal to this court, DOT asserts that (1) the assessment of points leading to a suspension which is not appealed cannot be attacked in the appeal of a subsequent suspension which resulted from an ...


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