The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has recently ruled that PENNDOT can issue multiple drivers license suspensions for multiple vehicle code violations occurring during a single incident. Calling it a case of first impression, the Court, in Strawn v. Department of Transportation found that the Appellant in this case should in fact suffer consecutive license suspensions for a single incident which resulted in charges of DUI, Fleeing and Eluding, Reckless Driving and Failure to Stop. Appellant had argued that previous case law held that penalties should merge when their is a single criminal episode. The case law that Appellant cited, however, dealt with Section 1532(c) of the vehicle code. This is the section dealing with license suspensions for Drug Act offenses, not vehicle code violations. 1532(b), the section dealing with suspensions for vehicle code violations was the section that Appellant was penalized under. The Court, in rejecting Appellant’sargument, stated, “It would strain the plain meaning of Section 1532(b0 to conclude that one suspension is appropriate for multiple offenses where the statute imposes different lengths of suspensions for distinct Motor Vehicle Code provisions. “
While this ruling certainly is a setback for individuals seeking relief from license suspensions, it does not change a general strategy employed in the defense of license suspension cases. Either through negotiation or litigation I always try to limit the number of convictions for offenses where license suspensions occur. When summary traffic offenses are attached to a DUI or Fleeing and Eluding case, I negotiate the withdrawal of such offenses. In other cases, where there are numerous moving violations, I can persuade an officer to permit a plea to a single offense that does not impact you license. If the matter needs to be tried before the Magistrate or Appealed to Common Pleas, I regularly advocate for clients facing license suspensions. If you are facing a traffic citation or another charge where your Pennsylvania Driver’s License is at risk please contact my office for a no cost consultation.