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State v. Squirewell

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

November 7, 2017

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
ANTHONY JAMES SQUIREWELL II

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 3 October 2017.

         Appeal by defendant from judgments entered 15 November 2016 by Judge Edwin G. Wilson, Jr., in Forsyth County Nos. 14 CRS 54918, 716209-11 Superior Court.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney General Christine Wright, for the State.

          Charlotte Gail Blake for defendant.

          ARROWOOD, JUDGE.

         Anthony James Squirewell II ("defendant") appeals from judgments entered upon his convictions for habitual impaired driving, speeding, possessing an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of a motor vehicle, resisting a public officer, and driving while license revoked for impaired driving. For the following reasons, we find no error in defendant's trial below.

         I. Background

         As a result of a traffic stop just after noon on 20 May 2014, defendant received North Carolina Uniform Citations for driving while impaired, speeding, providing false identifying information to the State Highway Patrol, driving while license revoked, consuming alcohol in the passenger area of a motor vehicle, and resisting a public officer. On 2 March 2015, a Forsyth County Grand Jury indicted defendant on charges of habitual impaired driving, speeding, driving while license revoked for impaired driving, possessing an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of a motor vehicle, and resisting a public officer.

         Prior to the case coming on for trial, defendant entered a guilty plea to driving while license revoked for impaired driving. The remaining charges were then tried before a jury in Forsyth County Superior Court beginning 14 November 2016, the Honorable Edwin G. Wilson, Jr., Judge presiding. On 15 November 2016, the jury returned verdicts finding defendant guilty of the remaining charges. The trial court consolidated the offenses for which the jury convicted defendant and entered judgment sentencing defendant to a term of 21 to 35 months imprisonment. The trial court entered a separate judgment sentencing defendant to a consecutive term of 120 days imprisonment for his guilty plea to driving while license revoked for impaired driving. Defendant timely appealed.

         II. Discussion

         Defendant raises the following two issues on appeal: whether the trial court erred by (1) allowing testimony to be admitted into evidence concerning the results of the chemical analysis of his breath test; and (2) denying his motion to dismiss the open container charge.

         A. Results of Chemical Analysis

         Defendant first contends the trial court erred in allowing a state trooper to testify about the results of the chemical analysis of his breath test because the State failed to provide an adequate foundation for the testimony. The trial court allowed the testimony into evidence at trial over defendant's objection.

          N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-139.1 provides that "a person's alcohol concentration or the presence of any other impairing substance in the person's body as shown by a chemical analysis is admissible in evidence." N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-139.1(a) (2015). Yet, "[b]ecause so much weight and deference is given to a chemical analysis test, it is necessary that a proper foundation be laid before admitting evidence as to the outcome of a chemical analysis ...


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