OPINION BY OLSON, J.
Timothy Allen Parsons ("Parsons") purports to appeal pro se from the order, entered on June 20, 2016, which modified the conditions of his bail by requiring him to complete a Court Reporting Network ("CRN") evaluation.
The factual background and procedural history of this case are as follows. At approximately 2:00 a.m. on January 22, 2016, Officer Dustin DeVault stopped Parsons' vehicle while he was driving on Dry Run Road. Officer DeVault suspected that Parsons was driving under the influence of alcohol and arrested him. Police also found a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. After releasing Parsons, police charged him via criminal complaint with a variety of offenses arising from the traffic stop. Parsons appeared at the courthouse on the date of his preliminary hearing; however, he failed to stay for the hearing. As such, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
On April 15, 2016, the Commonwealth charged Parsons via criminal information with DUI — general impairment,
On July 12, 2016, Parsons filed a purported notice of appeal. On July 21, 2016, the trial court ordered Parsons to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal ("concise statement").
Parsons presents two issues for our review:
Parsons' Brief at 3.
Preliminarily, we must determine whether we have jurisdiction in this case. The Commonwealth argues that we lack jurisdiction because Parsons appealed from an interlocutory order. This argument misapprehends the rules of appellate procedure.
Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1762(b)(2) provides that "[a]n order relating to bail shall be subject to review pursuant to Chapter 15" of the Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure. Pa.R.A.P. 1762(b)(2). When a defendant files a notice of appeal from an order relating to bail, instead of a petition for review, this Court "will regard the appeal as a [p]etition for review[.]"
The trial court's June 20, 2016 order relates to bail. The trial court modified the conditions of Parsons' bail by requiring him to complete a CRN evaluation. As such, we hold that we must construe Parsons' notice of appeal as a petition for review under Rule 1762(b)(2) and we have jurisdiction to review his challenge to the merits of the trial court's order. As we construe Parsons' notice of appeal as a petition for review under Rule 1762(b)(2), we lack jurisdiction over Parsons' claim that the trial court lacks jurisdiction over his criminal case. Such a claim is outside the scope of a petition for review filed pursuant to Rule 1762(b)(2), which affirms appellate review of bail-related orders in the absence of a pending appeal. Instead, Parsons' challenge to the trial court's jurisdiction must be raised in a direct appeal from any judgment of sentence that may be imposed in this case or via the procedure set forth in Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1311.
The Commonwealth also argues that Parsons' petition is untimely. This argument is without merit. The trial court's order was entered on June 20, 2016.
Having determined that we have jurisdiction over Parsons' petition for review with respect to his challenge to the trial court's bail modification order, we turn to the merits of that issue. As this issue requires us to interpret a statute and a rule of criminal procedure, our standard of review is de novo and our scope of review is plenary.
In its Rule 1925(a) opinion, the trial court states that it modified Parsons' bail conditions to require a CRN evaluation pursuant to 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3816. In its brief before this Court, the Commonwealth also argues that a CRN evaluation was required pursuant to section 3816.
"Interpretation of a statute is guided by the polestar principles set forth in the Statutory Construction Act, 1 Pa.C.S.[A.] § 1501 et seq."
Section 3816 provides, in relevant part, that:
75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3816(a) (emphasis added).
The plain language of section 3816(a) only requires that an individual undergo a CRN evaluation after being convicted of DUI or offered Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. Section 3816(a) thus presupposes the entry of a guilty plea, an offer of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or other form of conviction. It does not require that a defendant merely charged with DUI undergo a CRN evaluation. Therefore, the trial court's and Commonwealth's argument that Parsons was required to undergo a CRN evaluation pursuant to section 3816(a) is without merit.
Having determined that the trial court's statutory reasoning for requiring Parsons to undergo a CRN evaluation was incorrect, we turn to the trial court's and Commonwealth's alternative argument that requiring Parsons to undergo a CRN evaluation was a valid imposition of a nonmonetary bail condition. "To the extent practicable, [the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure] shall be construed in consonance with the rules of statutory construction." Pa.R.Crim.P. 101(C). To that end, when interpreting a rule of criminal procedure, our goal is to ascertain the intent of our Supreme Court.
Imposition of nonmonetary bail conditions is governed by Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 527. That rule provides that:
The language of Rule 527(A) is clear and free of ambiguity. Under the cannon of expressio unius est exclusio alterius, "where certain things are designated in a [rule], all omissions should be understood as exclusions."
The Commonwealth relies upon the comment to Rule 527 which "sets forth a few examples of conditions that might be imposed to address specific situations." Pa.R.Crim.P. 527 cmt. The six examples in the comment, however, all address nonmonetary bail conditions meant to ensure the defendant appears for future hearings and/or does not violate one of the standard bail conditions set forth in Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 526.
Moreover, even if Rule 527(A) were ambiguous, we would conclude that it prohibits ordering a defendant to undergo a CRN evaluation as a condition of his or her bail. When the words of a rule are ambiguous, we may look to the object to be attained in ascertaining its meaning.
In its Rule 1925(a) opinion the trial court notes that the standard practice in Washington County is to order defendants to undergo CRN evaluations prior to adjudication of guilt. This practice stems from our Supreme Court's decision in
This increase in judicial efficiency is laudable; however, judicial efficiency cannot trump legislative intent. Our legislature has stated that a CRN evaluation is required if a defendant has been convicted of DUI or is offered Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. It has not stated that a CRN evaluation shall be done on every person charged with a DUI offense. If a defendant decides that he or she prefers to be adjudicated guilty prior to undergoing a CRN evaluation, he or she has that right. Trial judges cannot force a defendant to undergo a CRN evaluation prior to an adjudication of guilt under the guise of a bail condition. Such a bail condition violates the plain language of the rules of criminal procedure. Therefore, although our decision today may result in a small decrease in the overall efficiency of the court system in Washington County (and possibly other counties), we believe that most defendants will choose to undergo a CRN evaluation prior to an adjudication of guilt in order to reduce the number of court appearances. Nothing in our decision today should be construed as preventing this voluntary practice.
In sum, we hold that Parsons' challenge to the order requiring him to complete a CRN evaluation is properly construed as a petition for review pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1762(b)(2). Thus, although we lack jurisdiction to consider Parsons' challenge to the trial court's jurisdiction over his criminal case, we do have jurisdiction over the portion of Parsons' petition challenging the trial court's order modifying his bail. We hold that section 3816 does not require that a CRN evaluation occur prior to entry of a guilty plea in a DUI case. We also hold that the trial court erred by requiring Parsons to undergo a CRN evaluation as a condition of his bail. Accordingly, we quash the petition for review in part, grant the petition for review in part, vacate the trial court's June 20, 2016 order, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Petition for review quashed in part and granted in part. Order vacated. Case remanded. Jurisdiction relinquished.