Sweet v. COM., DEPT. OF TRANSP.

Citation724 A.2d 1004
PartiesJohn Patrick SWEET, Appellant, v. COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF DRIVER LICENSING.
Decision Date12 February 1999
CourtCommonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

John J. Fioravanti, Jr., Doylestown, for appellant.

Timothy P. Wile, Asst. Counsel In-Charge, and Harold H. Cramer, Asst. Chief Counsel, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Before COLINS, President Judge, FLAHERTY, J., and NARICK, Senior Judge.

COLINS, President Judge.

John Patrick Sweet (Sweet) appeals from the March 5, 1998 order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County (Common Pleas) that denied Sweet's appeal of the one-year suspension of his operating privilege.

Pursuant to the Driver's License Compact (Compact), 75 Pa.C.S. § 1581, and to 75 Pa.C.S. § 1532(b), the Department of Transportation notified Sweet that his operating privilege would be suspended effective July 15, 1997 because of his April 30, 1997 conviction in New Jersey for driving under the influence of alcohol. Sweet appealed to Common Pleas, which held a de novo hearing and on March 5, 1998 denied Sweet's appeal. Sweet raised six issues before Common Pleas. In its opinion, that court first found no due process, equal protection, or double jeopardy violations of either the Pennsylvania or United States Constitutions. It then determined that the one-year suspension of Sweet's operating privilege did not violate the purpose of the Compact, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1581. The court found no merit in Sweet's argument that New Jersey had not complied with Article III of the Compact by not forwarding to Pennsylvania all of the required information or in his argument that the suspension violated Article IV of the Compact because if he had been convicted in Pennsylvania he would have been entitled to accelerated rehabilitative disposition. Finally, Common Pleas ruled that the New Jersey "DUI" statute is substantially similar to Pennsylvania's and that the Department of Transportation (Department) met its burden of proof.

Sweet appeals to this Court and raises the same issues that he raised before Common Pleas. "Our review is limited to determining whether the trial court's findings of fact are supported by competent evidence and whether it committed an error of law or abuse of discretion in reaching its decision." Touring v. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing, 712 A.2d 349, 350 n. 3 (Pa.Cmwlth.1998). We first address Sweet's third issue, because it is dispositive of his appeal.

Sweet argues that his appeal should be sustained because New Jersey failed to report all of the information required by Article III of the Compact. He asserts that New Jersey did not describe the violation that occurred or the plea that was entered and cites to Mazurek v. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing, 717 A.2d 23 (Pa.Cmwlth.1998), inter alia, to support his position. The Department "acknowledges that the New Jersey report ... does not include information as to Sweet's plea... or whether his conviction of that offense was as a result of a trial, guilty plea or forfeiture of bail." (Department brief, p. 18.) However, the Department then counterargues that the General Assembly, on December 21, 1998, amended 75 Pa.C.S. § 1584 to provide that "[t]he omission from any report received by the department from a party state of any information required by Article III of the compact shall not excuse or prevent the department from complying with its duties under Articles IV and V of the compact." (Section 20 of Act 151 of 1998.) The amendment to 75 Pa.C.S. § 1584 was made effective immediately. (Section 69 of Act 151 of 1998.) According to the Department, the...

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4 cases
  • Harrington v. Commonwealth
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Supreme Court
    • December 22, 2000
    ...Commonwealth, Dep't. of Transp., Bureau of Driver Licensing, 728 A.2d 1009, 1010 (Pa.Cmwlth.1999); Sweet v. Commonwealth, Dep't. of Transp., Bureau of Driver Licensing, 724 A.2d 1004, 1004 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1999), appeal pending; Kiebort, 719 A.2d at 1143; Emmett v. Commonwealth, Dep't. of Transp......
  • Orloff v. Com.
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
    • December 18, 2006
    ...the reporting requirements of Article III of the Compact were met, as articulated in our decision in Sweet v. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing, 724 A.2d 1004 (Pa. Cmwlth.1999). (See PennDOT's Brief at Following remand to the trial court, Judge Battle died on March 10......
  • Commonwealth v. Sweet
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Supreme Court
    • April 17, 2001
    ...H. Cramer, Asst. Chief Counsel, Andrew S. Gordon, Chief Counsel, Paul A. Tufano, Gen. Counsel, for petitioner. Prior report: Pa.Cmwlth., 724 A.2d 1004. PER CURIAM: AND NOW, this 17th day of April, 2001, the Petition for Allowance of Appeal is hereby GRANTED, the order of the Commonwealth Co......
  • McElwee v. Com., Dept. of Transp.
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
    • November 29, 2007
    ...the reporting requirements of Article III of the Compact were met, as articulated in our decision in Sweet v. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing, 724 A.2d 1004 (Pa. Following remand, Judge Battle died on March 10, 2001. No further action was taken by the trial court to......

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