Documentary Evidence • Burden of Proof

Styczen v. Commonwealth, PICS Case No. 14-0222 (C.P. Monroe Jan. 6, 2014) Williamson, J. (4 pages).

The court dismissed petitioner’s appeal from a determination of the Department of Transportation’s suspending his driving privilege.

Styczen received a notice suspending his driving privilege due to a conviction in New Jersey for violating a statute similar to 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3802 A(2). As a result, DOT sought to suspend Styczen’s driving privilege in Pennsylvania for a period of one year.

At the suspension hearing, DOT presented a copy of Styczen’s certified driving record. Styczen objected as to the authenticity of the document purporting to be from New Jersey regarding his conviction there. He argued the document was not certified and bore no seal. Styczen also objected because the document identified the driver with a last name of “Sryczen” instead of Styczen.

DOT argued the document was contained in their official records and was automatically presumed to be valid. DOT further contended that there was enough other identifying information in the out-of-state driving conviction report to show the record was that of Styczen with a typographical error in the name. The driver’s date of birth, address, and Pennsylvania driver’s license number were all those of Styczen.

The court held DOT met its burden to show Styczen was the individual who received the conviction in New Jersey. Documents of other states received by DOT may be treated as documents of the department. The fact DOT had this document in the certified driving record makes the document part of the department’s records. The record needed to be certified, but there were no additional requirements that it had to be separately certified.