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Faircloth v. Commonwealth, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

July 1, 2014

Dylan T. Faircloth, Appellant
v.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing

Submitted May 16, 2014.

Publication Ordered September 5, 2014.

Appealed from No. 13-2396 CIVIL. Common Pleas Court of the County of Cumberland. Placey, J.

Timothy M. Barrouk, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Terrance M. Edwards, Assistant Counsel, Harrisburg, for appellee.

BEFORE: HONORABLE RENÉ E COHN JUBELIRER, Judge, HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge. OPINION BY SENIOR JUDGE FRIEDMAN. COHN JUBELIRER, LEAVITT, FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 584

ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge

Dylan T. Faircloth (Licensee) appeals from the November 22, 2013, order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County (trial court), which dismissed Licensee's appeal from the operating privilege suspension imposed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing (DOT) for Licensee's refusal to submit to chemical testing after his arrest for violating section 3802 of the Vehicle Code.[1] We affirm.

On April 2, 2013, DOT suspended Licensee's operating privilege, effective May 7, 2013, for one year for his refusal to submit to chemical testing on March 1, 2013, in violation of section 1547(b)(1) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1547(b)(1), commonly referred to as the Implied Consent Law. Licensee appealed, and the trial court held a de novo hearing on November 13, 2013.

At the hearing, Pennsylvania State Trooper Scott Bowes testified that, on March 1, 2013, an off-duty corporal from the Newville Borough Police Department began to follow a vehicle traveling northbound on Interstate 81 in Cumberland County that was moving erratically, swerving, and had almost crashed. The off-duty corporal called the dispatcher, who then relayed the information to Trooper Bowes. Trooper Bowes located the vehicle and followed it for approximately two minutes. (Trial Ct. Op., 2/14/14, at 1.)

Trooper Bowes observed the vehicle swerve in and out of its lane and cross the fog line three times. After the vehicle crossed the fog line for the third time, Trooper Bowes pulled it over. Trooper Bowes observed Licensee operating the vehicle, a bottle of vodka in the center console, and smelled an odor of alcohol on Licensee's breath. Trooper Bowes asked Licensee where he was coming from and Licensee responded, " Harrisburg." However, Licensee was traveling north on Interstate 81 toward Harrisburg. Trooper Bowes observed that Licensee was a little sluggish and slow to respond. Licensee denied having had anything to drink, whereupon Trooper Bowes asked him to exit the vehicle. ( Id. at 2.)

Trooper Bowes administered a number of field sobriety tests, which Licensee could not complete.[2] Licensee then refused to submit to a preliminary breath test. Trooper owes placed Licensee under arrest for DUI and transported him to the hospital for a blood test. ( Id. at 2-3.)

At the hospital, Trooper Bowes read Form DL-26, which contains the implied consent warnings, to Licensee. Licensee agreed to sign the form but refused to take the blood test. The ...


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