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RICHARD S. STEPHENSON v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/03/88)

decided: May 3, 1988.

RICHARD S. STEPHENSON, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County, in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Richard S. Stephenson, No. 85-SU-04456-08.

COUNSEL

Steven M. Carr, Stock and Leader, for appellant.

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

Judges Colins and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.

Author: Barbieri

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 593]

Richard S. Stephenson appeals an order of the York County Court of Common Pleas dismissing his appeal of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's (DOT) revocation of his operating privilege for a period of one year in accordance with Section 1532(a)(1) of the Vehicle Code (Code).*fn1

On November 18, 1983, Stephenson entered a plea of guilty, before the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas, to violating Section 13(a)(30) of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.*fn2 On November 28, 1983, pursuant to Section 6323(2) of the Code,*fn3 the Lancaster County Clerk of Courts' office forwarded to DOT a certification of Stephenson's conviction. The certification was on an official form provided by DOT for this purpose and included the sentence Stephenson received along with a notation of "vehicle involved". For some reason, DOT did not receive the certification until December 29, 1983.

Stephenson was sentenced to a prison term and released on July 4, 1984. By official notice dated October

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 59424]

, 1985, DOT notified him that his operating privilege was being revoked for a period of one year as a result of the November 18, 1983 guilty plea.*fn4 After a hearing, the York County Court of Common Pleas denied Stephenson's appeal of the revocation and this appeal followed.

Stephenson contends that the trial court erred in denying his appeal because there was no evidence that the criminal court made a determination that a vehicle was essentially involved in the offense to which he entered a guilty plea on November 18, 1983. Stephenson also contends that he was prejudiced by DOT's failure to revoke his operating privilege for twenty-two months after receiving the certification of conviction from the office of the Lancaster County Clerk of Courts.

Our scope of review in a license suspension case is limited to determining whether the findings of the trial court are supported by competent evidence, whether there has been an erroneous conclusion of law or whether the trial court's decision demonstrates a manifest abuse of discretion. Wheatley v. Pennsylvania ...


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