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Trumbly v. State

Court of Appeals of Alaska

September 2, 2016

DAVID HENRY TRUMBLY JR., Appellant,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.

         Appeal from the District Court, Third Judicial District, Trial Court No. 3KN-12-904 CR Kenai, Matthew Christian, Magistrate Judge.

          Lars Johnson, Assistant Public Defender, and Quinlan Steiner, Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Appellant.

          Samuel D. Scott, Assistant District Attorney, Kenai (briefing), John Skidmore, Division Director, Criminal Division Central Office, Anchorage (oral argument), and Craig W. Richards, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

          Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Suddock, Superior Court Judge. [*].

          OPINION

          ALLARD, JUDGE

         A jury convicted David Henry Trumbly Jr. of driving under the influence and refusal to submit to a chemical test. At sentencing, the court initially imposed the mandatory minimum fine of $1, 500 for each offense concurrent to one another. A few days later, the court amended the judgment to impose the fines consecutively (for a total fine of $3, 000) after the State argued that the court had no authority to impose the fines concurrently.

         Trumbly now appeals, arguing that the original judgment was a valid final judgment and the court's actions therefore violated the prohibition against double jeopardy. For the reasons explained here, we agree with Trumbly and conclude that sentencing courts have the discretion to impose these fines consecutively or concurrently. We accordingly remand this case to the district court and direct the court to correct the judgment to reflect the court's initial imposition of concurrent fines.

         Trumbly also argues that the police did not have probable cause to arrest him for driving under the influence. Having reviewed the record, we find no merit to this claim. We therefore affirm Trumbly's convictions.

         Why we conclude that the original judgment was lawful

         Under Alaska law, a person convicted of refusal to submit to a chemical test is subject to the same mandatory minimum criminal penalties as a person convicted of the underlying driving under the influence.[1] A first conviction for either driving under the influence (DUI) or refusal to submit to a chemical test (refusal) requires a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 72 hours, a mandatory minimum license revocation of 90 days, and a mandatory minimum fine of $1, 500.[2] A second conviction for either offense requires a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 20 days, a mandatory minimum license revocation of 12 months, and a mandatory minimum fine of $3, 000.[3]A third conviction for either offense generally qualifies as a felony.[4]

         A subsection of the refusal statute, AS 28.35.032(g)(5), additionally requires that the mandatory minimum sentence imposed for the refusal conviction "shall run consecutively with any other sentence of imprisonment imposed on the person."[5]Thus, in cases where the defendant is convicted of both refusal and DUI arising out of the same incident, the mandatory term of imprisonments must be imposed consecutively.

         Because these were Trumbly's first offenses for driving under the influence and refusal to submit to a chemical test, he faced the mandatory minimum penalties for a first time offender. At sentencing, the judge imposed the 72-hour mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for each offense consecutively, as required by AS28.35.032(g)(5), but imposed the mandatory minimum license revocations and fines concurrently.

         In response, the prosecutor filed a motion asserting that Alaska law required consecutive mandatory minimum fines for driving under the influence and refusal to submit to a chemical test. The district court ultimately agreed with the State and modified Trumbly's judgment to impose the fines consecutively, resulting in a composite fine of $3, 000 ($1, 500 for each offense).

         Trumbly argues that the court erred in concluding that consecutive fines were required by law. Because this question hinges on our construction of the Alaska statutes, we review the question de novo.[6]

          n appeal, the State acknowledges that AS 28.35.032(g)(5) does not require the sentencing court to impose consecutive fines. This subsection only requires the court to impose consecutive "sentences of imprisonment." And, as our caselaw demonstrates, "sentences of imprisonment" refer to terms of imprisonment and do not refer to the other penalties for driving under the influence and refusal, such as license revocations and monetary fines.[7]

         The State argues instead that the court was required to impose consecutive fines under AS 28.35.032(g)(2)(A), a different statutory subsection within the refusal statute. This subsection provides that, upon conviction under the refusal statute, "the court may not ... suspend execution of the sentence ... or grant probation except on condition ...


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