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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. PHILIP D. NEW (09/20/88)

decided: September 20, 1988.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF DRIVER LICENSING, APPELLANT
v.
PHILIP D. NEW, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County, in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Philip D. New, No. 3390 Civil 1986.

COUNSEL

Christopher J. Clements, 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

[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 539]

This is an appeal by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County which sustained the appeal of Philip D. New (Licensee) and reversed DOT's decision to suspend Licensee's driving privileges for sixty-five days. We reverse.

On August 20, 1984 and December 9, 1984, Licensee was convicted of violating Section 3362 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. ยง 3362 (Code) pertaining to speeding. Licensee's driving record was assessed with a total of seven points for these two convictions. DOT informed Licensee that he was required to pass a driver's examination as his point total exceeded six. On June 19, 1985, Licensee passed the required driving examination and two points were removed from his record, reducing his total accumulation of points to five.

On August 21, 1985, Licensee was convicted for speeding a third time and his record accumulated four more points. Licensee then received notice that his point accumulation was nine and that he was required to attend a departmental hearing. The hearing took place on March 5, 1986, but no action was taken. Consequently, as of April 4, 1986, Licensee's point total remained at nine.

On August 18, 1986, Licensee was again cited for speeding and he accumulated four more points. By official notice dated October 29, 1986, DOT notified Licensee that his operating privileges were being suspended for sixty-five days due to his accumulation of thirteen points pursuant to Section 1539 of the Code. Licensee appealed this suspension alleging that DOT failed to notify him of the first nine points assessed on his record.

At the de novo hearing, DOT introduced the certified driving record of Licensee as proof that it had met

[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 540]

    its notice requirements for all thirteen points. The trial court, with great reservation, sustained Licensee's appeal relying on this Court's decision in Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Suchko, 92 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 520, 499 A.2d 738 (1985), holding that since DOT did not present certified copies of the actual notice letters, it did not meet its burden to prove the date notice was sent to the licensee. This appeal ensued.

The sole issue before us is whether DOT's certification statement of Licensee's driving record is sufficient evidence ...


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