Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Hughes

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

April 16, 2019

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
BRIAN KEITH HUGHES, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 13 March 2019.

          Appeal by Defendant from judgment entered 18 April 2018 by Judge Marvin P. Pope, Jr. in Transylvania County No. 17CRS50770 Superior Court.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney General Yvonne B. Ricci, for the State.

          Kimberly P. Hoppin for Defendant-Appellant.

          INMAN, JUDGE.

         When the State fails to give notice of its intent to use aggravating sentencing factors as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-179(a1)(1), the trial court's use of those factors in determining a defendant's sentencing level is reversible error.

         Defendant Brian Keith Hughes ("Defendant") appeals from a judgment finding him guilty of impaired driving and imposing a level one punishment based upon two grossly aggravating sentencing factors. Because the State failed to notify Defendant of its intent to seek an enhanced sentence based on those factors we vacate the judgment and remand to the trial court to resentence Defendant.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On 2 May 2017, Brevard Police Department Officer Timothy Reinhart ("Officer Reinhart") observed Defendant's vehicle roll through a stop sign and then come to an abrupt stop when it appeared Defendant noticed the officer's patrol car. Officer Reinhart ran the vehicle's license plate, verified that Defendant's driving privileges had been suspended, and initiated a traffic stop. During this stop, Officer Reinhart and another officer performed standard field sobriety tests on Defendant. The officers concluded that Defendant had consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol to impair his mental and physical faculties and arrested him for driving while impaired.

         Defendant was tried for impaired driving in Transylvania County District Court. The district court found Defendant guilty, and determined that the State had proven the existence of two grossly aggravating sentencing factors: (1) that Defendant "drove, at the time of the current offense, while [his] drivers license was revoked" and (2) that Defendant had "been convicted of a prior offense involving impaired driving which conviction occurred within seven (7) years before the date of this offense." Accordingly, the district court imposed level one punishment.

         Defendant then appealed to the Transylvania County Superior Court. Defendant was tried by jury, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty of driving while impaired. The jury was discharged, and the superior court proceeded to a sentencing hearing. During the sentencing hearing, the State introduced evidence of Defendant's driving record over Defendant's objection that the State had failed to provide notice of its intent to seek an aggravated sentence. The superior court again imposed a level one punishment, based on the same factors applied in Defendant's district court sentencing. Defendant appeals.

         ANALYSIS

         Defendant argues that the State failed to notify him, as required by Section 20-179(a1)(1) of our General Statutes, of its intent to prove aggravating factors for sentencing in the superior court proceeding. Alleged statutory errors are questions of law and, as such, are reviewed de novo. State v. Mackey, 209 N.C. App 116, 120, 708 S.E.2d 719, 721 (2011) (internal citations omitted). Under de novo review, the appellate court considers the matter anew and freely substitutes its own judgment for that of the lower court. Sutton v. N.C. Dep't of Labor, 132 N.C.App. 387, 389, 511 S.E.2d 340, 341 (1999).

         If the State intends to provide evidence of aggravating factors at an impaired driving sentencing hearing, it must provide ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.