Lovell v. State

Decision Date22 October 1984
Docket NumberNo. CR,CR
PartiesTerry LOVELL, Mike Fluiatt, David Britton, Rick Fivekiller, Randall Simmermon, Sally Baswell, Roger Carson, Mike Corkran and J.D. Hawkins, Appellants, v. STATE of Arkansas, Appellee. 84-86.
CourtArkansas Supreme Court

Joel W. Price, Fort Smith, for appellants.

Steve Clark, Atty. Gen. by Randel Miller, Asst. Atty. Gen., Little Rock, for appellee.

DUDLEY, Justice.

The nine appellants were each found guilty of violating the Omnibus DWI Act of 1983. The sentences of appellants Carson, Corkran, Fluiatt and Hawkins were enhanced because each had a prior conviction. The other appellants were sentenced as first offenders. These appeals come to this court under Rule 29(1)(c) and are consolidated pursuant to Rule 3, A.R.App.Pro. because common questions of law are involved. We affirm the convictions of those appellants sentenced as first offenders but reverse the convictions of those given enhanced sentences.

Over the objections of appellants Carson, Corkran, Fluiatt and Hawkins, the trial court admitted certificates of prior convictions into evidence and, on the basis of the prior conviction documents, punishment was enhanced. None of the documents reflect that appellants were represented by counsel at their prior trials. The ruling was erroneous. A prior conviction cannot be used collaterally to impose enhanced punishment unless the misdemeanant was represented by counsel or validly waived counsel. Baldasar v. Illinois, 446 U.S. 222, 100 S.Ct. 1585, 64 L.Ed.2d 169 (1980); State v. Brown, Ark. (October 1, 1984). Waiver of counsel may not be presumed from a silent record. McConahay v. State, 257 Ark. 328, 516 S.W.2d 887 (1974). Accordingly, we reverse and remand the cases of these four appellants.

Since appellants Carson, Corkran, Fluiatt and Hawkins will be retried, we will also address another point of this appeal which will again arise at their new trials. These four appellants' prior convictions were for violating the older statutes relating to driving while under the influence of intoxicants, Ark.Stat.Ann. §§ 75-1027 through 1031.1. Under these older statutes, there was a presumption that one was under the influence of intoxicants if his blood alcohol content was .10% or more. The 1983 statute has made driving with a blood alcohol content of .10% or more illegal, per se. Appellants argue that there is a difference between driving while under the influence of intoxicants and driving while intoxicated, and that a prior conviction for driving while under the influence should not be counted as a prior offense for driving while intoxicated. There is no merit in the argument. Both laws declare that drivers with a blood alcohol content of .10% or more constitute a threat to public safety. The legislative intent under the Omnibus DWI Act of 1983 was to enhance penalties by using convictions under the older act. § 75-2501(b) states in pertinent part:

... all pleas of guilty and nolo contendere and all findings of guilty of driving while intoxicated within three (3) years prior to the effective date of this Act shall be counted in determining the number of prior offenses for the purposes of enhancing the penalties provided by this Act ....

The above part of the act uses the word intoxicated rather than under the influence. However, § 75-2502(a) defines intoxicated as "influenced or affected by the ingestion of alcohol ..." The emergency clause also demonstrates the legislative intent;

It is hereby found and determined by the Seventy-Fourth General Assembly that the Act of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating alcoholic beverages or drugs constitutes a serious and immediate threat to the safety of all citizens of the State ... (emphasis added.)

Therefore, upon retrial, previous convictions for driving while under the influence of intoxicants may be used as prior offenses for enhancement purposes under the 1983 act.

All appellants raise other points of appeal. They contend that the failure of the state to preserve samples of their breath tests for later testing constitutes a denial of their right to due process. This argument also is without merit. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not require that law enforcement agencies preserve breath samples in order to introduce breath analysis tests at trial. California v. Trombetta, 467 U.S. 479, 104 S.Ct. 2528, 81 L.Ed.2d 413 (1984). Appellants additionally contend that the failure to preserve the samples denied them their Sixth Amendment Confrontation rights. However, since neither citation of authority nor convincing argument is given and since it is not apparent without further research that the point is well taken, we do not consider the issue. Dixon v. State, 260 Ark. 857, 545 S.W.2d 606 (1977).

Appellants next contend that the Omnibus DWI Act of 1983, Act 549, Ark.Stat.Ann. §§ 75-2501 through 75-2514, is unconstitutional on its face and as applied. They make four arguments of unconstitutionality. First, they argue that § 75-2503(b) establishes a conclusive presumption of guilt because it provides that it is unlawful for any person to drive with .10% or more by weight of alcohol in his blood.

The subsection does not lessen the state's burden of proof. Each defendant is presumed innocent until the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty of committing the prohibited act of driving with .10% or more alcoholic content in the blood. The state has a rational basis in protecting public safety and to that end the General Assembly has determined that a driver with a blood alcohol content of .10% or more constitutes a serious and immediate threat to the safety of all citizens. This act is simply a reasonable means of protecting the public safety. The appellants were innocent until the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the appellants were driving and that their blood alcohol measurement was .10% or more. People v. Ziltz, 98 Ill.2d 38, 74 Ill.Dec. 40, 455 N.E.2d 70 (1983).

Second, appellants contend that the act is unconstitutional because the .10% standard of § 3(b) is vague. Both the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article 2, section 8 of the Arkansas Constitution declare that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. It has been recognized for over 80 years that due process requires some level of definiteness in criminal statutes. Note, Due Process Requirements of Definiteness in Statutes, 62 Harv.L.Rev. 77, fn. 2 (1948). Due process requires a statute to be definite enough to provide (1) a standard of conduct for those whose activities are proscribed and (2) a standard for police enforcement and for ascertainment of guilt. State v. Bryant, 219 Ark. 313, 241 S.W.2d 473 (1951); Note, The Void-for-Vagueness Doctrine in the Supreme Court, 109 U.Pa.L.Rev. 67, 68-69 (1960); Note, Due Process Requirements of Definiteness in Statutes, 62 Harv.L.Rev. 77-78 (1948).

The subsection setting .10% as the standard meets both requirements. First, it gives a fair warning of the prohibited conduct. Due process requires only fair warning, not actual notice. Although it is not likely that a criminal will carefully consider the text of the law before he murders or steals, it is reasonable that a fair warning should be given to the world in language that the common world will understand, of what the law intends to do if a certain line is passed. To make the warning fair, so far as possible the line should be clear.

McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25, 27, 51 S.Ct. 340, 341, 75 L.Ed. 816 (1931).

The standard is the same in Arkansas. Trice v. City of Pine Bluff, 279 Ark. 125, 129, 649 S.W.2d 179 (1983). The subsection fairly warns a person of ordinary intelligence that he is in jeopardy of violating the law if he drives a vehicle after consuming a quantity of alcohol. Second, a clear standard is set for police enforcement. In addressing the same issue, the California Supreme Court stated:

... [T]he statute could not be more precise as a standard for law-enforcement. (Freund, The Use of Indifinite Terms in Statutes (1921) 30 Yale L.J. 437, 437.) It gives no discretion whatever to the police, and thus is not susceptible of arbitrary enforcement.... Indeed, the very precision of the standards assures the statute's validity in this respect. (Cf. Note, The Void-for-Vagueness Doctrine in the Supreme Court, (1960) 109 U.Pa.L.Rev. 67, 90-91.) (citation omitted)

Burg v. Municipal Court, 35 Cal.3d 257, 198 Cal.Rptr. 145, 153, 673 P.2d 732, 740 (1983).

Appellants' third argument is that the act is an unconstitutional violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States and Article 2, Sections 8 and 10 of the Constitution of Arkansas because the .10% standard of § 3(b) is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable. They contend that there is no legal or scientific basis for the legislative determination that .10% blood alcohol content constitutes a dangerous level of alcohol.

The state has broad police powers to protect its citizens from real dangers. Driving while intoxicated is such a real danger. South Dakota v. Neville, 459 U.S. 553, 103 S.Ct. 916, 74 L.Ed.2d 748 (1983). The only issue is whether driving with a blood alcohol measurement of .10% or more scientifically bears a reasonable relationship to the legitimate state interest in protecting the safety of its citizens. The California Supreme Court has clearly answered the question:

... Scientific evidence and sad experience demonstrate that any driver with 0.10 percent blood alcohol is a threat to the safety of the public and to himself. (Gray, Attorney's Textbook of Medicine (3d ed. 1983) pp 133.52-133.52(3) [all individuals suffer impairment at 0.10 percent blood-alcohol content]; State v. Franco, supra, 96 Wash.2d 816, 639 P.2d 1320, 1322 [abundant scientific evidence that at 0.10 percent blood...

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