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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN MILFORD LEFEVER (11/13/87)

decided: November 13, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF DRIVER LICENSING, APPELLANT
v.
JOHN MILFORD LEFEVER, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing v. John Milford Lefever, No. 638 of 1986.

COUNSEL

Christopher J. Clements, Assistant Counsel, with him, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, for appellant.

Richard B. MacDonald, for appellee.

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

Author: Craig

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 106]

The Department of Transportation (DOT) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, dated June 9, 1986, which affirmed an April 1986 order directing DOT to reinstate the operating privileges of John Milford Lefever. The department had suspended Lefever's license for refusal to submit to chemical analysis following his arrest for driving while under the influence of alcohol, pursuant to Section 1547 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. ยง 1547. The twelve-month suspension became effective November 12, 1984. Lefever appealed the suspension nunc pro tunc in February 1986. The department unsuccessfully sought reconsideration of the trial court's order to reinstate Lefever's license. We reverse the trial court's decision.

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 107]

Two issues are involved:

(1) Whether the trial court properly ordered reinstatement of Lefever's operating license, when the time for appeal of DOT's suspension had expired; and

(2) Whether the trial court exceeded its scope of review of the license suspension by considering Lefever's separate criminal plea agreement.

On September 24, 1984, state troopers arrested Lefever after he collided with a parked car. The officers took Lefever to a hospital for treatment of his injuries. When asked to submit to a blood alcohol level test, Lefever refused. The officer later received a blood alcohol test result of .195% from the hospital.*fn1 The state troopers notified DOT that Lefever had refused to submit to chemical analysis to determine his blood alcohol level.

On October 9, 1984, DOT notified Lefever that his license would be suspended for twelve months, effective November 12, 1984, for refusing to submit to the blood test. Lefever did not appeal the suspension within the thirty day appeal period, but instead mailed in his license and began serving the suspension.

On May 7, 1985, Lefever entered a guilty plea to two counts of driving under the influence, pursuant to a plea agreement with the district attorney. In that agreement, the district attorney agreed to withdraw the notice of refusal sent to DOT, in exchange for Lefever's consent to use the results of the blood test as evidence in the criminal ...


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