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Roop v. Commonwealth

August 18, 2010

BRYAN KEITH ROOP, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF DRIVER LICENSING



Per curiam.

ORDER

AND NOW, this 14th day of October, 2010, it is ORDERED that the above-captioned opinion filed August 18, 2010 shall be designated OPINION rather than MEMORANDUM OPINION, and it shall be reported.

BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, Judge, HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge, HONORABLE JOHNNY J. BUTLER, Judge.

OPINION

JUDGE BUTLER

Bryan Roop (Roop) appeals the December 17, 2009 order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County (trial court) affirming the Department of Transportation's (PennDOT) refusal to grant Roop a driver's license. The issue before this Court is whether the trial court erred as a matter of law in determining that Section 1503(a)(1) of the Vehicle Code,*fn1 precludes PennDOT from issuing Roop a driver's license where his driving privileges were revoked in another state. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the order of the trial court.

In February of 1992, Roop's operating privileges were revoked by PennDOT for three convictions of driving under the influence and two convictions of driving under a suspended license between 1988 and 1990 in Pennsylvania. Roop moved to Florida in 1992, where he was convicted of driving under the influence at least two more times. As a result, his operating privileges were permanently revoked under Florida law.

Roop returned to Pennsylvania and, in December of 2003 was issued a probationary license. His probationary license was renewed each year until 2007 when PennDOT learned of Roop's revocation in Florida.*fn2 Roop applied for and received a learner's permit in October of 2008. On March 17, 2009, PennDOT notified Roop that he was not eligible for a Pennsylvania driver's license.

Roop appealed to the trial court, and a hearing was held on June 22, 2009. On December 17, 2009, the trial court issued an order denying Roop's appeal, thereby affirming PennDOT's refusal to grant Roop a driver's license. The trial court determined that Article V(2) of the Driver's License Compact*fn3 does not create an exception to the prohibition against issuing a driver's license in Section 1503(a)(1) of the Vehicle Code, and that PennDOT's issuance of a learner's permit to Roop did not estop it from denying him a driver's license. On March 22, 2010, the trial court issued an opinion pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a). Roop appealed to this Court.*fn4

Section 1503(a)(1) of the Vehicle Code states, "[t]he department shall not issue a driver's license to, or renew the driver's license of, any person: (1) Whose operating privilege is suspended or revoked in this or any other state." Article V(2) of the Driver's License Compact states:

The licensing authority in the state where application is made shall not issue a license to drive to the applicant if:

(2) The applicant has held such a license, but the same has been revoked by reason, in whole or in part, of a violation and if such revocation has not terminated, except that after the expiration of one year from the date the license was revoked such person may make application for a new license if permitted by law. The licensing authority may refuse to issue a license to any such applicant if, after investigation, the licensing authority determines that it will not be safe to grant to such person the privilege of driving a motor vehicle on the public highways.

Roop argues that the words "if permitted by law" in Article V(2) of the Driver's License Compact should not be interpreted to create a blanket prohibition against PennDOT's authority to issue him a regular license. We disagree. It is obvious that since Section 1503(a)(1) of the Vehicle Code and Article V(2) of the Driver's License Compact relate to the same subject, they are in pari materia, and shall be construed together, if possible, as one statute. 1 Pa.C.S. § 1932. Moreover,

Article VI of the Driver's License Compact states:

Except as expressly required by provisions of this compact, nothing contained herein shall be construed to affect the right of any party state to apply any of its other laws relating to licenses to drive to any person or circumstance, nor to invalidate or prevent any driver license agreement ...


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