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​Legal Updates

This page contains the current year’s legal cases and statutes that are relevant to municipal police officers throughout the Commonwealth, as these cases have a direct impact on how police officers perform their day-to-day duties.

February 20, 2024: CDL License Holders – DL-26B Warnings:

Bergenstock v. Commonwealth of PA Department of Transportation, 69 C.D. 2023

Facts

Appellant holds a CDL license. Appellant was arrested, on back-to-back evenings, for driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance. The second arrest occurred when the appellant was found unconscious, in a personal vehicle, in a bar parking lot.

Appellant refused chemical testing during processing of each arrest. During the second refusal, the appellant was read only one side of the DL-26B form that pertained to Section 1547 of the Vehicle Code. The appellant's refusal was recorded and submitted to PennDOT Bureau of Driver Licensing.

As a result, the appellant received notification that his driver's license would be suspended for eighteen (18) months for the two (2) refusals. The appellant was also notified that he would be disqualified from Commercial Driving Privileges for his lifetime, due to his refusing chemical testing on two or more separate occasions under 75 Pa. C.S.A. 1613 and 1611 (c).

Appellant appealed the lifetime disqualification claiming he was not notified of that consequence prior to his refusal.

Ruling

Commonwealth Court of Appeals upheld Appellant's 18-month suspension of operating privilege but did reverse the lifetime disqualification of commercial driving privilege.

Holding

CDL license holders must be read both sides of the DL-26 warnings, regardless of whether they are driving a personal or commercial vehicle for the lifetime CDL disqualification to apply to repeat refusals.  PennDOT is considering form changes.

69CD23_2-20-24.pdf (pacourts.us)


July 01, 2024: Organized retail theft: Act 42 of 2023 Amends Title 18/PA Crimes Code section ​3929.3 Organized retail theft:

3929.3. Organized retail theft.

​​​​Subsection:​​​​​​​​​

​​​​​​(b) Grading

(1)    If the retail value is at least $2,500 but not more than $9,999 the offense is a felony of the third degree.

​(2)    If the retail value is at least $10,000 but not more than $49,999 the offense is a felony of the second degree.

(3)    If the retail value is at least $50,000 the offense is a felony of the first degree.

(b.1) Enforcement - Establishes enforcement procedures.

(b.2) Establishes geographic districts of the prosecuting attorneys.

2023 Act 42 Section 3929.3 Organized retail theft - PA General Assembly (state.pa.us)


February 12, 2024: Theft of mail: Act 41 of 2023 Amends Title 18/PA Crimes Code to add section 3936 Theft of mail.

​3936. Theft of mail.
 
(a)  Unlawful taking.--A person is guilty of the offense of theft of mail if the person unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, mail of another person with intent to deprive the other person of mail.

(b)  Unlawful transfer.--A person is guilty of the offense of theft of mail if the person unlawfully transfers, or exercises unlawful control over, mail of another person or an interest in mail of the other person with intent to benefit the person or another person not entitled to the mail or interest in the mail.

(c)  Grading.—

(1)  Theft of mail constitutes a:
(i)  Summary offense if the offense is a first offense and the value of the mail is less  than $200.
(ii)  Misdemeanor of the second degree if the offense is a second offense and the value of the mail is less than $200.
(iii)  Misdemeanor of the first degree if the offense is a first or second offense and the value of the mail is $200 or more.
(iv)  Felony of the third degree if the offense is a third or subsequent offense or if the value of the mail exceeds $2,000.
 
"Mail."  A letter, package, bag, mail or item of value sent or delivered to another.​

2023 Act 41 Section 3936 Theft of mail - PA General Assembly (state.pa.us)​


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