Most of us have dipped our toes in some hot water at least once or twice in the past. And while that embarrassing YouTube video that lead to a public intoxication conviction may be a point of contention at family get togethers, there are far worse offenses that show up on background checks. For instance, misdemeanor Driving Under the Influence offenses stack up. On a fourth offense DUI citation, you are most likely facing felony charges. This comes as quite the shock to some people, as they were unaware of the consequences of repeated drunk driving convictions.
Having proper representation when facing felony charges such as this is paramount. An experienced attorney can help to discern whether the felony DUI charge is proper. There are some instances where these felonies were improperly charged, and a prior DUI conviction should have been excluded for charging purposes.
There are a number of ways that a prior driving under the influence conviction may be inappropriate for a sentencing/stacking determination. For instance, constitutionally infirm prior conviction(s) cannot support an enhanced punishment. State v. Chaussee, 2011 MT 203, ¶ 9. While the court presumes that prior convictions are constitutional and in compliance with the law, defendants can produce evidence to persuade the court the prior conviction is constitutionally infirm. State v. Rasmussen, 2017 MT 259, ¶ 14; State v. Hancock, 2016 MT 21, ¶ 12; State v. Maine, 2011 MT 90, ¶ 34.
So what exactly is a constitutionally infirm prior conviction? And are there other reasons why a past DUI conviction should not be considered? That’s a question that demands a case by case determination, and the attorneys at diStefano & Mattingley, PLLP will properly assess your case and advise you accordingly. Call them today to set up a consultation.