Vellon v. Dep’t of Transp., Bureau of Driver Licensing

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court squeezed in two crucial holdings regarding driver’s license suspensions resulting from DUI convictions. Vellon was arrested for DUI and was accepted into ARD. But he violated the terms of ARD by picking up another DUI arrest. He was kicked out of ARD and subsequently pled to both charges. He was sentenced for both charges on the same day. The Department of Transportation suspended his license for 12 months for the first offense and 18 months for the second offense. Vellon appealed, claiming that his first offense should not carry a license suspension, per Section 3804(e)(2)(iii) of the Motor Vehicle Code. The issue turned on the interpretation of Section 3806(b)(3). The Commonwealth Court ruled that Section 3806(b)(3) mandated that convictions on the same date are “prior offenses” of one another and that each carries the appropriate license suspension, thus affirming the lower court. The Court also ruled that the Department of Transportation is authorized to determine how many prior offenses a licensee has. Even if the trial court rules that a licensee has no prior offenses, the Department of Transportation may disagree.

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