Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing v. Kevin McBrearty, No. 1218 November Term, 1986.
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 Barry and Smith, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Smith. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case.
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The Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing (DOT), appeals from an order of the Court of
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Common Pleas of Philadelphia County sustaining the appeal of Kevin Charles McBrearty (McBrearty) from DOT's six-month revocation of his vehicle operating privileges pursuant to Section 1543 of the Vehicle Code (Code), 75 Pa. C.S. § 1543 (driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked). The trial court's decision is reversed.
DOT notified McBrearty by official notice dated October 24, 1986 that his operating privilege was being revoked for six months as a result of his conviction for violation of Section 1543 of the Code. McBrearty appealed DOT's decision to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. At hearing, DOT offered into evidence certified documents consisting of McBrearty's driving record, the official notice of suspension, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania citation which indicates that fine and costs were paid. McBrearty, through his attorney, alleged that McBrearty's parents received the citation in the mail, paid the fine and then told McBrearty that they had done so.
The trial court subsequently sustained McBrearty's appeal finding that his parents had no authority to act for him since he is an independent person.*fn1 The trial court distinguished Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Williamson, 91 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 84, 496 A.2d 910 (1985), which DOT argues is controlling, from the facts of this case. In Williamson, licensee's spouse paid the fine and costs imposed upon licensee for driving without a license. This Court rejected licensee's argument that payment by another person does not constitute a guilty plea and held that where one spouse pays
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a fine for another, this conduct is tantamount to an admission of guilt by licensee. However, the trial court concluded that Williamson is not controlling in a parent-child relationship where the child is an independently employed 28-year-old adult. DOT thereafter appealed to this Court.*fn2
DOT contends that the trial court erred in accepting McBrearty's argument that the underlying conviction was improper because his parents paid the fine without his knowledge. DOT also argues that it sustained its burden ...