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THOMAS A. BOOKS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/27/87)

decided: August 27, 1987.

THOMAS A. BOOKS, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF DRIVER LICENSING, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, in case of Thomas A. Books v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, No. 4446 S 1985.

COUNSEL

Joseph A. Klein, for appellant.

Steven P. Miner, 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 Palladino. Concurring Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Palladino

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 27]

This is an appeal by Thomas A. Books from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County (trial court) affirming the suspension of his driver's license by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing (DOT) pursuant to Section 1547 of the Vehicle Code.*fn1 For the reasons which follow, we affirm.

A police officer observed Books driving with his left tires over the double yellow line and, subsequently, with more than half of his vehicle over the double yellow line. After the officer stopped the vehicle and approached it, he detected the smell of alcohol on Books' breath. Thereafter, the officer administered four field sobriety tests,*fn2 all of which Books failed.

The officer placed Books under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, 75 Pa. C.S. ยง 3731, and warned him of the consequences of his failure to submit

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 28]

    to a chemical test of blood, breath or urine. He agreed to take a breathalyzer and was transported to Troop H State Police Barracks. However, when that test was administered, Books puffed into the machine, refusing to give a full breath. After four attempts, the operator considered it a refusal. Books did not offer any medical reason why he could not provide an adequate breath sample.

The arresting officer decided to give Books another chance. He transported him to a local hospital and offered him a blood test. Books refused the test, without excuse or reason.*fn3

Thereafter, DOT suspended Books' operating privileges for one year. On appeal, the trial court affirmed. Books now appeals to this court raising three issues for our consideration.*fn4 First, Books asserts that the arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe that Books was operating his vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Second, whether Books' failure to supply sufficient breath to activate the breathalyzer machine constitutes a refusal of the test. Third, Books contends that he did not ...


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