However, these cases are distinguishable for two reasons. First, most of the cases deal with multiple prosecutions not multiple punishments. The soundness of drawing a distinction between multiple punishments and multiple prosecutions is apparent: if an accused is facing multiple convictions (and, therefore, multiple punishments) in violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause, he may appeal those convictions to obtain full relief. If, by contrast, he faces multiple prosecutions, neither the second (or third, or fourth) trial itself nor an appeal therefrom can provide him with a remedy; the trial itself is a constitutional wrong, above and beyond any possible punishment. Thus, in weighing the potential harm to a defendant claiming protection of the Double Jeopardy Clause against the potential harm to the integrity of the state criminal process, as Younger requires, the bare fact that the plaintiff has made out a double jeopardy claim is not enough to justify an injunction. Additionally, the plaintiff cannot make out a colorable claim for double jeopardy as required by some of the cases.
"The Double Jeopardy Clause protects against three distinct abuses: a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal; a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction; and multiple punishments for the same offense." United States v. Halper, 490 U.S. 435, 440, 104 L. Ed. 2d 487, 109 S. Ct. 1892 (1989) (citation omitted). Here, the plaintiff attempts to avail himself of the Clause's third protection.
Before determining whether a license suspension and a subsequent criminal prosecution represent multiple punishments, the court must first find that the suspensions and subsequent prosecutions relate to the same offense and constitute separate proceedings. Pennsylvania law generally holds that a license suspension proceeding is a civil proceeding separate and distinct from criminal or summary proceedings. Commonwealth v. Wolf, 534 Pa. 283, 632 A.2d 864, 867 (Pa. 1993); Patterson v. Commonwealth, 136 Pa. Commw. 49, 582 A.2d 700, 701 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1990), appeal denied, 528 Pa. 615, 596 A.2d 161 (Pa. 1991); see also Department of Revenue v. Kurth Ranch, 128 L. Ed. 2d 767, 114 S. Ct. 1937, 1947 & n.21 (1994) (The civil penalty "is exacted only after the . . . arrest for the precise conduct the gives rise to the [penalty] in the first place." These proceedings "involve separate sanctions imposed in successive proceedings.").
Having found that the license suspensions and the subsequent prosecutions constitute separate proceedings arising from the same conduct, the court next determines whether the temporary revocation of a driver's license constitutes punishment. In Halper, the court held that a criminal defendant may not be prosecuted and "subjected to an additional civil sanction to the extent that the second sanction may not fairly be characterized as remedial, but only as a deterrent or retribution." 490 U.S. at 449. Whether the defendant perceives the civil sanction as punishment is not the relevant query because "for the defendant even remedial sanctions carry the sting of punishment." Id. at 447 n.7 (citation omitted).
Rather, "in determining whether a particular civil sanction constitutes criminal punishment, it is the purposes actually served by the sanction in question, not the underlying nature of the proceeding giving rise to the sanction that must be evaluated." Id. Here, the purpose of the suspension is to protect the public rather than to punish the licensee. See Drogowski v. Commonwealth, 94 Pa. Commw. 205, 503 A.2d 104, 107 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1986), appeal denied, 516 Pa. 619, 531 A.2d 1120 (Pa. 1987); Zanotto v. Department of Trans., 83 Pa. Commw. 69, 475 A.2d 1375, 1375 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1984). Any deterrent or punitive effect that results from the statute's enforcement is purely incidental to the overriding purpose of protecting public safety. See Bae v. Shalala, 44 F.3d 489, 493 (7th Cir. 1995) (determining, pursuant to Halper, that the punitive aspect of the debarment of a generic drug company president is "merely incidental to [the statute's] overriding purpose to safeguard the integrity of the generic drug industry while protecting the public health"). Operating a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a property right, and thus, Pennsylvania has the right to control and regulate its use. Plowman v. Commonwealth, 535 Pa. 314, 635 A.2d 124, 126 (Pa. 1993). While the plaintiff may detect the "sting of punishment" in the suspension of his license, Halper, 490 U.S. at 447 n.7, the suspension does not constitute punishment for the purposes of analysis under the Double Jeopardy Clause.
Irreparable Harm and Public Interest
On balance, the plaintiff has not satisfactorily demonstrated his inability to retain another person to drive him to work. In fact, the plaintiff has a grown son and has not explained why his son could not drive him to work. The public has a strong interest in suspending the driving privileges of persons convicted of drunk driving.
BY THE COURT:
MARVIN KATZ, J.