Court rejects trucker’s defense: they should’ve caught his fake ID scheme sooner
July 16, 2019
A Pennsylvania appeals court rejected a trucker’s claim that his due process rights to a speedy trial were violated because the state should have caught on to the scheme of having multiple licenses in different names sooner.
Gonzalo Montanez received two license suspensions from PennDOT in 2008 and 2010 for not being licensed to operate a motor vehicle, following an initial traffic citation in 2006. At the time, court records show that Montanez was using the name Braulio DLeon. While Montanez claims he never received notice in the mail of the suspensions, Judge Ellen Ceisler cited evidence that notices were mailed to the address Montanez gave for DLeon.
Court records indicate that when Montanez applied for a license renewal in 2017, facial recognition technology used by PennDOT helped match Montanez’s face to the DLeon identity and at least one other alias – Alfonso Rodea, Court records indicate he obtained a commercial driver’s license under the Montanez identity in 2016.
Writing in the court’s opinion, Ceisler stated it was evident that the Montanez identity was “invented in 2013 in order to avoid his existing suspensions and obtain a license by presenting the appearance of a clean driving history. Montanez offered no explanation for why he applied for state identification under three different names.
“Essentially, (Montanez) argues that although he acted unlawfully and intentionally in deceiving the Department by using multiple fraudulent identities, the Department was at fault because his intended deception succeeded for several years. Not surprisingly, (Montanez) cites no authority whatsoever for this argument. We reject it as baseless and improper.”
Montanez argued that he did not receive notice of the suspensions until 2017, and that the delay caused him prejudice and deprived him of his due process rights. A Berks County Court of Common Pleas rejected that argument, prompting Montanez to appeal to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.
Once the suspension or disqualification is fully served and all restoration requirements are satisfied, the CDL driving privilege is restored, according to a PennDOT spokeswoman. CDL holders convicted of violations which impose a driving privilege suspension or disqualification by state law are not required to be retested to regain their CDL privilege.