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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ANDREW REVTAI (10/15/87)

decided: October 15, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
ANDREW REVTAI, APPELLEE. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT, V. DENNIS ALLEN BRIGGS, APPELLEE. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT, V. ALAN KEITH SEEGER, APPELLEE. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT, V. CATHRYN LEE PRESS, APPELLEE. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT, V. MONROE C. HATCHER, SR., APPELLEE. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT, V. MICHAEL T. MCCONVILLE, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court entered at No. 1052 Pittsburgh, 1983, dated April 26, 1985, affirming the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Criminal Division, entered at No. CC8306615 dated August 24, 1983, Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ.

Author: Mcdermott

[ 516 Pa. Page 55]

Opinion

These cases were consolidated in order to address a common issue, to wit: whether a violation of Rule 130(d) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure mandates immediate dismissal of a criminal complaint without inquiry into the prejudice suffered by the defendant. The germane facts of these cases are set out below.

I

No. 5 W.D. Appeal Docket 1986

Appellee, Andrew Revtai, was arrested by an officer of the McKees Rocks Police Department on May 25, 1983, and charged with drunk driving. After a breathalyzer test was administered, which showed a .23% blood-alcohol level, appellee was released without arraignment pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 130(b). According to Pa.R.Crim.P. 130(d) a criminal complaint was required to be filed within five (5) days of the defendant's release. In this instance the fifth day fell on a holiday, Memorial Day, which that year was Monday, May 30, 1983. As a consequence the courts were closed. On May 31, 1983, a criminal complaint was filed.

On June 21, 1983, a preliminary hearing was held before a district justice. At that time appellant requested that the charges be dismissed on the basis of the Commonwealth's

[ 516 Pa. Page 56]

    noncompliance with Rule 130(d). Appellee's request was denied and he was held for further court action.

On August 9, 1983, the Commonwealth filed a criminal information with the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, charging appellee with driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3731. On August 18, 1983, appellee filed a "Motion for Writ of Habeas Corpus," alleging a violation of his rights due to the Commonwealth's noncompliance with Rule 130(d). On August 24, 1983, a hearing was held before the Honorable Robert E. Dauer, who ultimately granted the motion.

On appeal the Superior Court affirmed Judge Dauer's order.*fn1 Thereupon the Commonwealth sought allowance of appeal, which was granted.

No. 48 W.D. Appeal Docket 1986

Appellee, Dennis Allen Briggs, was arrested by an officer of the Wilkinsburg Police Department on May 5, 1984, and charged with drunk driving and running a red light. After two breathalyzer tests were administered, which showed readings of .186% and .216% blood-alcohol levels, appellee was released without arraignment pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 130(b). On May 21, 1984, a criminal complaint was filed.

It appears from the record that a preliminary hearing was scheduled for June 26, 1984, but appellee did not challenge the complaint at that time.

On July 30, 1984, the Commonwealth filed a criminal information in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, charging appellee with driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3731, and running a red light, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3112(a)(3). On August 24, 1984, appellee filed a motion to quash this information based on the Commonwealth's noncompliance with Rule 130(d). On October 11, 1984, after a hearing, the Honorable Bernard L. McGinley granted the motion to quash.

[ 516 Pa. Page 57]

On appeal the Superior Court affirmed Judge McGinley's order.*fn2 Thereupon the Commonwealth sought allowance of appeal, which was granted.

No. 5 M.D. Appeal Docket 1986

Appellee, Alan Keith Seeger, was arrested by an officer of the Patton Township Police Department on December 21, 1983, and charged with drunk driving and two summary offenses. The officer transported appellee to the township police station. Once there appellee started acting strangely, clutching his head, banging it against the plastic partition in the police car, groaning and screaming. Appellee was unresponsive to questions. The officer transported appellee to Centre Community Hospital where appellee's strange behavior continued. As a result of appellee's condition the officer chose not to process him, allowing him to be released under Pa.R.Crim.P. 130(b).

The police officer was aware of the five (5) day rule provided in Rule 130(d), but believed that legal holidays were excluded. In this case the fifth day, Monday, December 26, 1983, was a legal holiday because Christmas in that year fell on a Sunday. The officer then attempted to file the complaint against appellee on December 27, 1983. He arrived during normal business hours, at 3:00 P.M., only to find the office had closed early due to a severe snow storm which had struck the area. The officer finally filed the complaint on December 30, 1983.

On February 1, 1984, a preliminary hearing was held. At that time appellee requested that the charges be dismissed on the basis of the Commonwealth's noncompliance with Rule 130(d). Appellee's request was denied and he was held for further court action.

On February 14, 1984, the Commonwealth filed a criminal information in the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, charging appellee with driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3731, and two summary offenses. On March 13, 1984, appellee filed an

[ 516 Pa. Page 58]

Omnibus Pre-Trial Motion which contained a motion to dismiss alleging a violation of Rule 130. On March 30, 1984, a hearing was held before the Honorable Charles C. Brown, Jr., P.J., who ultimately granted the motion to dismiss.

On appeal the Superior Court affirmed Judge Brown's order.*fn3 Thereupon the Commonwealth sought allowance of appeal, which was granted.

No. 6 M.D. Appeal Docket 1986

Appellee, Cathryn Lee Press, was arrested by an officer of the State College Bureau of Police Services on October 7, 1983, and charged with drunk driving and a summary stop sign violation. She was released the same day pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 130(b). On October 20, 1983, a criminal complaint was filed.

On November 16, 1983, a preliminary hearing was held. At that time appellee requested that the charges be dismissed on the basis of the Commonwealth's noncompliance with Rule 130(d). Appellee's request was denied and she was held for further court action.

On December 13, 1983, the Commonwealth filed a criminal information in the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, charging appellee with driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3731, and a stop sign violation, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3323. On January 6, 1984, appellee filed an Omnibus Pre-Trial Motion, which contained a motion to dismiss alleging a violation of Rule 130. On January 24, 1984, a hearing was held before the Honorable David E. Grimes, who ultimately granted the motion to dismiss.

On appeal the Superior Court affirmed Judge Grimes' order.*fn4 Thereupon the Commonwealth sought allowance of appeal, which was granted.

[ 516 Pa. Page 59]

No. 27 M.D. Appeal Docket 1986

Appellee Monroe C. Hatcher, Sr. was arrested by an officer of the Susquehanna Township Police Department on September 8, 1983, and charged with drunk driving. After a breathalyzer test was administered, which showed a .23% blood-alcohol level, appellee was released without arraignment pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 130(b). A criminal complaint was filed within the five day period prescribed by Rule 130(d). However, at appellee's preliminary hearing, which took place on October 27, 1983, the arresting officer failed to identify the appellee as the operator of the vehicle, and the charge was dismissed.

Thereafter, on November 4, 1983, appellee was re-arrested and a complaint was filed charging driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3731. The preliminary hearing on this complaint was held on December 20, 1983, at which time appellee was held for court.

On March 1, 1984, appellee filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that his re-arrest violated Pa.R.Crim.P. 130. The motion was denied. Appellee was ultimately found guilty in a bench trial. Post-trial motions were denied and appellee was sentenced to ninety days to twelve months incarceration.

On appeal the Superior Court, relying in part on its own precedents established in Commonwealth v. Revtai, 343 Pa. Super. 149, 494 A.2d 399 (1985), and Commonwealth v. Press, 342 Pa. Super. 507, 493 A.2d 705 (1985), reversed.*fn5 In reversing, the court held that "Rule 130(d) establishes a time limit within which the Commonwealth must file supportable charges in a D.U.I. case where the defendant is released from custody before the charges are filed." Commonwealth v. Hatcher, 345 Pa. Super. 481, 487, 498 A.2d 925, 928 (1985) (emphasis added).

From the Superior Court's order the Commonwealth sought allowance of appeal, which was granted.

[ 516 Pa. Page 60]

No. 1 E.D. Appeal Docket 1987

Appellee, Michael McConville, was arrested by an officer of the Allentown Police Department on November 21, 1984, and charged with drunk driving. On that same day appellee was released without arraignment pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 130(b). On December 4, 1984, a criminal complaint was filed with the district justice.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled, at which time appellee appeared pro se and waived the preliminary hearing. No objection to the late filing of the criminal complaint was raised at that time.

On March 27, 1985, the Commonwealth filed a criminal information in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, charging the appellee with two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3731. On June 7, 1985, appellee filed a pre-trial motion to dismiss, alleging a violation of Pa.R.Crim.P. 130. On June 24, 1985, a hearing was ...


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