Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

A.G. v. Commonwealth, Department of Transportation

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

September 12, 2019

A.G., Appellant
v.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing

          Submitted: June 28, 2019

          BEFORE: HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Judge [1] HONORABLE ANNE E. COVEY, Judge HONORABLE ELLEN CEISLER, Judge.

          OPINION

          ROBERT SIMPSON, Judge.

         In this statutory appeal, A.G. (Licensee) challenges the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County (trial court) upholding two six-month suspensions of her operating privileges based on her violation of Section 3714(b) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. §3714(b) (careless driving, unintentional death), that killed two persons. She argues the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing (PennDOT) erred in imposing two suspensions based on her two convictions without regard for the single criminal episode rule. She asserts the language of the statute underlying the suspension controls, which defines the offense in terms of harm to persons (plural), not a person (singular). Upon review, we affirm.

         I. Background

         The material facts are undisputed. Licensee was convicted of two counts of careless driving, unintentional death, under Section 3714(b) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. §3714(b). Relevant here, the incident resulted in the deaths of two persons. By two notices dated July 3, 2018, PennDOT imposed a six-month suspension for each conviction pursuant to 75 Pa. C.S. §1532(b)(1), to be served consecutively, the first suspension effective August 7, 2018, and the second effective February 7, 2019. Licensee appealed the second suspension to the trial court.

         The trial court conducted a de novo hearing. PennDOT submitted documentary evidence consisting of Licensee's certified driving record, the two suspension notices and copies of the reports of two convictions for careless driving. Licensee did not testify or submit any evidence. Following the hearing and argument on the single criminal episode rule, the trial court sustained both suspensions. Licensee appealed the trial court's order as to the second suspension to this Court.

         As directed by the trial court, Licensee filed a statement of errors complained of on appeal under Pa. R.A.P. 1925(b). Therein, she asserted that the "single criminal episode rule" only permits one suspension when the language of the statute underlying the violation "provides that an act injuring multiple individuals is a single criminal episode." Reproduced Record at 57a. Licensee emphasized the trial court erred in upholding the suspensions based on the number of convictions instead of the statutory language.

         In its opinion, the trial court reasoned that two suspensions were proper because PennDOT received reports of two convictions. It emphasized that Licensee could not collaterally attack her convictions in the civil licensing proceeding.

         Licensee sought a stay of the second license suspension pending appeal, which a single judge of this Court granted after telephonic argument.

         II. Discussion

         On appeal, Licensee argues the trial court erred in disregarding the single criminal episode rule. She claims the rule permits "[o]nly a single suspension … where multiple violations arise from a single criminal episode." Appellant's Br. at 4 (quoting Gayman v. Dep't of Transp., 65 A.3d 1041, 1044 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2013)). Licensee challenges the legality of the second suspension when she violated only one statutory provision. She emphasizes that the statute underlying her convictions, Section 3714 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. §3714, provides that an act injuring multiple persons constitutes one offense such that only one suspension is proper. Licensee also claims PennDOT's imposition of two suspensions for a single act of careless driving is inconsistent with its legal position in other cases.

         This appeal presents a pure question of law that is largely a matter of statutory construction. Therefore, our review is plenary. Rothstein v. Dep't of Transp., Bureau of Driver Licensing, 922 A.2d 17 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006).

         A. Single Criminal Episode Rule

         Primarily, Licensee argues the trial court erred in upholding a suspension for each conviction when both convictions involved the same statutory provision and arose from a single act. PennDOT counters that each suspension corresponds to each conviction of the offense of careless driving. As Licensee ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.