Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing v. John McCrea, III, No. 3431 Civil 1985.
Harold H. Cramer, with him, Lawrence R. Wieder, Assistant Counsel, Henry G. Barr, General Counsel, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, for appellant.
No appearance for appellee.
Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 262]
The Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety (Department) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County that reversed a suspension of the operating privileges of John McCrea III (Licensee) pursuant to Section 1533 of the Vehicle Code (Code)*fn1 for failure to respond to a citation. We affirm.*fn2
On October 28, 1985, the Department mailed Licensee a notice suspending his operator's license effective November 18, 1985 for his alleged failure to respond to a citation issued by a district justice. At a hearing before the trial court, Licensee contended that his suspension was improper inasmuch as he never received notice of the underlying citation. The court of common pleas reversed the suspension of Licensee's operating privileges, holding that, because the Department failed to prove that Licensee had ever received notice of the underlying citation, the suspension pursuant to Section 1533 of the Code could not be sustained.
[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 263]
We agree, but on slightly different principles than those relied upon by the trial court.
Section 1533 of the Code provides in relevant part:
The department shall suspend the operating privilege of any person who has failed to respond to a citation to appear before a court of competent jurisdiction of this Commonwealth or of any state for violation of this title, other than parking, upon being duly notified in accordance with general rules. There shall be 15 days to respond to such notification before suspension is imposed. . . .
75 Pa. C.S. § 1533 (emphasis added).
It is obvious to us by the reference in this section of the Code to "such notification," that the notification referred to is the Department's notice of the suspension, and not the Commonwealth's notification of the underlying citation in accordance with the Rules of Criminal Procedure as the trial court held. Nevertheless, the Department is required, before suspending someone's operating ...