for Review of the Order June 20, 2016 In the Court of Common
Pleas of Washington County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: OLSON, MOULTON and STRASSBURGER, [*] JJ.
Allen Parsons ("Parsons") purports to appeal
pro se from the order, entered on June 20, 2016,
which modified the conditions of his bail by requiring him to
complete a Court Reporting Network ("CRN")
evaluation. We hold that Parsons' challenge is, in
part, properly construed as a petition for review pursuant to
Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1762(b)(2), which
permits appellate review of bail orders pursuant to Chapter
15 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure. Pursuant
to our authority to review bail orders under Rule 1762(b)(2),
we hold that 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3816 does not require that
every defendant charged with driving under the influence
("DUI") undergo a CRN evaluation as a condition of
bail. We therefore hold that the trial court erred by
ordering Parsons to undergo a CRN evaluation as a condition
of his bail. We also conclude that we lack authority to
review Parsons' challenge to the trial court's
jurisdiction over his criminal case. Accordingly, we quash
the petition for review in part, grant the petition for
review in part, vacate the trial court's June 20, 2016
order, and remand for further proceedings consistent with
factual background and procedural history of this case are as
follows. At approximately 2:00 a.m. on January 22, 2016,
Officer Dustin DeVault stopped Parsons' vehicle while he
was driving on Dry Run Road. Officer DeVault suspected that
Parsons was driving under the influence of alcohol and
arrested him. Police also found a small amount of marijuana
and drug paraphernalia. After releasing Parsons, police
charged him via criminal complaint with a variety of offenses
arising from the traffic stop. Parsons appeared at the
courthouse on the date of his preliminary hearing; however,
he failed to stay for the hearing. As such, a bench warrant
was issued for his arrest. See Pa.R.Crim.P. 543(D)(3)(b).
On February 24, 2016, Parsons filed a petition to vacate the
bench warrant. The petition was granted that same day and
Parsons was released on recognizance, a type of bail that
imposes no conditions beyond those required by Pennsylvania
Rule of Criminal Procedure 526(A). See Pa.R.Crim.P.
April 15, 2016, the Commonwealth charged Parsons via criminal
information with DUI - general impairment,  resisting arrest,
possession of a small amount of marijuana,  possession of
drug paraphernalia,  and four summary traffic offenses. On June
16, 2016, Parsons appeared before the trial court for what
the trial court described as "plea court". Trial
Court Opinion, 8/30/16, at 2. Although the record is unclear
as to whether Parsons intended to plead guilty at that
hearing, when the trial court learned that Parsons had not
undergone a CRN evaluation it did not give him that
opportunity. Instead, the trial court modified the conditions
of Parsons' bail by requiring him to complete a CRN
evaluation. Parsons filed a motion to reconsider, which the
trial court denied.
12, 2016, Parsons filed a purported notice of appeal. On July
21, 2016, the trial court ordered Parsons to file a concise
statement of errors complained of on appeal ("concise
statement"). See Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b). On August
8, 2016, Parsons filed his concise statement. On August 30,
2016, the trial court issued its Rule 1925(a) opinion. On
August 25, 2016, this Court issued a rule to show cause why
Parsons' notice of appeal should not be quashed. On
September 6, 2016, Parsons filed a response to the rule to
show cause. On December 5, 2016, this Court discharged the
rule to show cause and deferred the jurisdictional issue to
presents two issues for our review:
1. [Did the trial court have jurisdiction over this criminal
2. Did the trial court err in requiring Parsons to undergo a
Parsons' Brief at 3.
we must determine whether we have jurisdiction in this case.
The Commonwealth argues that we lack jurisdiction because
Parsons appealed from an interlocutory order. This argument
misapprehends the rules of appellate procedure.
Rule of Appellate Procedure 1762(b)(2) provides that
"[a]n order relating to bail shall be subject to review
pursuant to Chapter 15" of the Pennsylvania Rules of
Appellate Procedure. Pa.R.A.P. 1762(b)(2). When a defendant
files a notice of appeal from an order relating to bail,
instead of a petition for review, this Court "will
regard the appeal as a [p]etition for review[.]"
Commonwealth v. Jones, 899 A.2d 353, 354 n.1 (Pa.
trial court's June 20, 2016 order relates to bail. The
trial court modified the conditions of Parsons' bail by
requiring him to complete a CRN evaluation. As such, we hold
that we must construe Parsons' notice of appeal as a
petition for review under Rule 1762(b)(2) and we have
jurisdiction to review his challenge to the merits of the
trial court's order. As we construe Parsons' notice
of appeal as a petition for review under Rule 1762(b)(2), we
lack jurisdiction over Parsons' claim that the trial
court lacks jurisdiction over his criminal case. Such a claim
is outside the scope of a petition for review filed pursuant
to Rule 1762(b)(2), which affirms appellate review of
bail-related orders in the absence of a pending appeal.
Instead, Parsons' challenge to the trial court's
jurisdiction must be raised in a direct appeal from any
judgment of sentence that may be imposed in this case or via
the procedure set forth in Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate
Commonwealth also argues that Parsons' petition is
untimely. This argument is without merit. The trial
court's order was entered on June 20, 2016. Pursuant to
Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1512(a)(1), Parsons
had 30 days to petition for review of that order. Parsons
filed his notice of appeal, which we treat as a petition for
review, on July 12, 2016 - 22 days after entry of the order.
Accordingly, Parsons' petition for review was timely and
we have jurisdiction over the portion of the petition
challenging the trial court's modification of
determined that we have jurisdiction over Parsons'
petition for review with respect to his challenge to the
trial court's bail modification order, we turn to the
merits of that issue. As this issue requires us to interpret
a statute and a rule of criminal procedure, our standard of
review is de novo and our scope of review is
plenary. See Grimm v. Universal Med. Servs., Inc.,
156 A.3d 1282, 1286 (Pa. Super. 2017) (citation omitted)
(interpretation of a statute subject to de novo
review); Commonwealth v. Libengood, 152
A.3d 1057, 1059 (Pa. Super. 2016) (citation omitted)
(interpretation of rule of criminal procedure subject to
de novo review).
Rule 1925(a) opinion, the trial court states that it modified
Parsons' bail conditions to require a CRN evaluation
pursuant to 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3816. In its brief before
this Court, the Commonwealth also argues that a CRN
evaluation was required pursuant to section 3816.
of a statute is guided by the polestar principles set forth
in the Statutory Construction Act, 1 Pa.C.S.[A.] § 1501
et seq." Commonwealth v. Vandyke, 157
A.3d 535, 538 (Pa. Super. 2017) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). "Our paramount interpretative task is
to give effect to the intent of our General Assembly in
enacting the particular legislation under review."
Commonwealth v. Walls, 144 A.3d 926, 932 (Pa. Super.
2016), appeal denied, 2017 WL 721824 (Pa. Feb. 23,
2017) (citation omitted). "[T]he best indication of
legislative intent is the plain language of a statute.
Furthermore, in construing statutory language, words and
phrases shall be construed according to rules of grammar and
according to their ...