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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. THOMAS E. EMPFIELD (01/24/89)

decided: January 24, 1989.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF DRIVER LICENSING, APPELLANT
v.
THOMAS E. EMPFIELD, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Indiana County, in the case of Commonwealth v. Thomas E. Empfield No. 749 C.D. 1988.

COUNSEL

Christopher J. Clements, Assistant Counsel, with him, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Chief Counsel, and John L. Heaton, Chief Counsel, for appellant.

Thomas G. Johnson, for appellee.

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

Author: Barbieri

[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 83]

The Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing (DOT) appeals the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Indiana County which sustained the appeal of Thomas E. Empfield (Appellee) from a six month suspension of his operating privileges ordered by DOT for violation of Section 1532(b)(2) of the Vehicle Code (Code), 75 Pa. C.S. § 1532(b)(2). We affirm the trial court.

On December 18, 1981, Appellee was cited for operating a motor vehicle while his operator's license was expired and fined $25.00 pursuant to Section 1501 of the Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1501. On January 1, 1988, Appellee was again cited for operating a motor vehicle with an expired operator's license and fined $25.00 under the same Code Section.

Section 1532(b)(2) provides that DOT shall suspend the operating privileges of any driver for six months upon receiving a certified record of the driver's conviction of a subsequent offense under Section 1501(a). On April 6, 1988, DOT notified Appellee it was suspending his operating privileges for six months based on Appellee's 1981 and 1988 citations for driving with an expired license. The trial court sustained Appellee's appeal from this suspension based on its statutory interpretation of Sections 1501 and 1532(b) of the Code.

Section 1501 states in pertinent part:

(a) General Rule.-No person, except those expressly exempted, shall drive any motor vehicle upon a highway in this Commonwealth unless the

[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 84]

    person has a driver's license valid under the provisions of this chapter.

(d) Penalty.-Any person violating subsection (a) is guilty of a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $200, except that, if the person charged furnishes satisfactory proof of having held a driver's license valid on the last day of the preceding driver's license period and no more ...


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