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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. MICHAEL BARRETT (07/08/88)

decided: July 8, 1988.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLANT
v.
MICHAEL BARRETT, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Michael Barrett, No. 86-C-1279.

COUNSEL

Donald H. Poorman, Assistant Counsel, with him, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Chief Counsel, and John L. Heaton, Chief Counsel, for appellant.

No appearance for appellee.

Judges Doyle and McGinley, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 486]

The Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing (Department), appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County sustaining the appeal of Michael Barrett (Licensee) from the Department's suspension of his driving privileges pursuant to Section 1543 of the Vehicle Code (Code), 75 Pa. C. S. § 1543 (driving during a period of suspension). We reverse.

Licensee was twice convicted of violating Section 3323 of the Code, 75 Pa. C. S. § 3323 (failure to obey a stop or yield sign). As a result of the second conviction, the Department ordered that he would have to pass a special driving examination. Licensee did not respond to the notice to take the special driving examination, so the Department suspended his license, effective January 28, 1986, pursuant to Section 1533 of the Code, 75 Pa. C. S. § 1533 (suspension of operating privileges for failure to respond to citation).

On February 6, 1986, a citation was issued to Licensee for violating Section 1543. Licensee pled guilty to the offense on February 25, 1986. No appeal was taken from this conviction.

Following this third conviction, the Department suspended Licensee's driving privileges for six months pursuant to Section 1543(c). Licensee appealed the suspension to the common pleas court.

The trial court sustained Licensee's appeal on the basis that "the record provided by the Commonwealth as an exhibit did not contain a copy of the letter which

[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 487]

    indicated that the Commonwealth did in fact send notice of the suspension and in view of the fact that the Commonwealth has been given an opportunity to obtain a copy of said letter and failed to do so." This appeal follows.*fn1

The Department contends that the trial court erroneously allowed Licensee to attack collaterally a prior criminal conviction in a license suspension proceeding. We agree. This case is controlled by our decision in Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Conroy, 100 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 461, 514 A.2d 1006 (1986). In Conroy, the trial court sustained the licensee's appeal on the basis that he had no notice of the ...


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