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APPEAL FROM SUSPENSION DRIVING PRIVILEGES DAVID JOHN LEWIS. DAVID JOHN LEWIS (03/31/88)

decided: March 31, 1988.

IN RE: APPEAL FROM SUSPENSION OF DRIVING PRIVILEGES OF DAVID JOHN LEWIS. DAVID JOHN LEWIS, APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, in the case of In Re: Appeal from suspension of driving privileges of David John Lewis, No. 441-1987.

COUNSEL

William Watt Campbell, for appellant.

Robert M. Rovine, Assistant Counsel, with him, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, John L. Heaton, Chief Counsel, for appellee.

Judges Craig, McGinley and Smith, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 143]

David John Lewis appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County dismissing his appeal from the suspension of his operating privilege for a period of one year by the Department of Transportation (DOT), pursuant to section 1547 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C. S. ยง 1547, because of his refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test.

The sole issue raised by Lewis before the trial court and on this appeal is whether the warning that the arresting officer read to Lewis, from the form adopted by the Manheim Township Police Department, informed Lewis with sufficient certainty that the consequence of his refusal would be suspension.*fn1

The warning that the police officer read to Lewis (which Lewis acknowledged understanding by oral responses and by signing the form from which the warning was read) stated in pertinent part as follows:

[Section 1547] further provides that if you are placed under arrest for a violation of Section 3731 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) and are requested to submit to chemical testing and refuse to do so, the testing shall not be conducted, but upon notice by the police officer, the department shall

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 144]

    suspend your operating privilege for a period of twelve (12) months.

In accordance with the provisions of that section of the Vehicle Code, I have now advised you that your operating privilege will be suspended upon your refusal to submit to chemical testing.

Lewis contends that the phrase "but upon notice by the police officer" in the above-quoted warning renders the warning sufficiently uncertain and equivocal so that the officer's reading that warning to him did not fulfill the officer's statutory duty "to inform the person that the person's driving privilege will be ...


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