State v. Pixton, No. 20030146-CA.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Utah
Writing for the CourtTHORNE.
Citation98 P.3d 433,2004 UT App 275
Docket NumberNo. 20030146-CA.
Decision Date19 August 2004
PartiesSTATE of Utah, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. Neil Steven PIXTON, Defendant and Appellant.

98 P.3d 433
2004 UT App 275

STATE of Utah, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
Neil Steven PIXTON, Defendant and Appellant

No. 20030146-CA.

Court of Appeals of Utah.

August 19, 2004.


98 P.3d 434
Joan C. Watt and L. Monte Sleight, Salt Lake City, for Appellant

Mark L. Shurtleff, Atty. Gen., and Brett J. DelPorto, Asst. Atty. Gen., Salt Lake City, for Appellee.

Before Judges JACKSON, ORME, and THORNE.

OPINION

THORNE, Judge:

¶ 1 Neil Steven Pixton appeals from his conviction for felony drunk driving, in violation of Utah Code section 41-6-44(6) (Supp.2001). We reverse.

BACKGROUND

¶ 2 In January 2001, South Jordan Police officers arrested Pixton for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in South Jordan, Utah. South Jordan authorities charged Pixton with misdemeanor DUI in the South Jordan Justice Court. On May 15, 2001, while the South Jordan charge was still pending, Pixton was again arrested for DUI, this time in Murray, Utah. Murray authorities also charged Pixton with misdemeanor DUI, and filed the charges in the Murray City Justice Court. On May 24, 2001, Pixton resolved the South Jordan charge, pleading guilty to alcohol related reckless driving (ARR). Upon learning of his plea, and being mindful of Pixton's previous 1998 DUI conviction, the Murray City prosecutor dismissed its misdemeanor DUI charge and referred Pixton's case to the County to allow it to pursue felony DUI charges pursuant to Utah Code section 41-6-44 (Supp.2001).

¶ 3 On June 21, 2002, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's office (the DA) filed felony DUI charges against Pixton, relying upon Pixton's 1998 DUI conviction and his May 2001 ARR conviction to enhance the level of the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony. Pixton moved for a reduction in the charge, arguing, inter alia, that the plain language of section 41-6-44(6) did not support the felony DUI charge because he had not been twice convicted of DUI at the time of the instant offense. The trial court denied his motion, finding that Pixton had been twice convicted at the time the DA filed the felony charge in the district court. Pixton then agreed to plead guilty to felony DUI, while reserving his right to appeal the trial court's denial of his motion. He now appeals.

ISSUE AND STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶ 4 Pixton argues that because the trial court erroneously interpreted Utah Code section 41-6-44(6) (Supp.2001), he was wrongfully convicted of felony drunk driving. "The correct interpretation of a statute is a question of law and is reviewed for correctness."

98 P.3d 435
State v. Larsen, 865 P.2d 1355, 1357 (Utah 1993)

ANALYSIS

I. Preservation

¶ 5 The State initially argues that Pixton failed to preserve his argument and that consequently we should refuse to address his claim. "As a general rule, claims not raised before the trial court [are not preserved and] may not be raised on appeal." State v. Holgate, 2000 UT 74,¶ 11, 10 P.3d 346.1 This "preservation rule," id., is satisfied if an appellant makes "`a contemporaneous objection'" or offers" `some form of specific preservation of claims of error'" on the trial court record. State v. Brown, 856 P.2d 358, 360 (Utah Ct.App.1993) (quoting State v. Tillman, 750 P.2d 546, 551 (Utah 1987)). Here, after being charged with felony DUI, Pixton filed a motion to reduce the charge that specifically referenced Utah Code section 41-6-44(6) (Supp.2001), and directed the trial court's attention to the statutory language upon which he based his motion. The court held a hearing and ultimately denied Pixton's motion. Pixton then agreed to plead guilty to the felony DUI charge, while reserving his right to appeal the trial...

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8 practice notes
  • State v. Duran, No. 20090943–CA.
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • 4 August 2011
    ...It is the role of the jury to find facts and apply them to the judge's instructions on the law.”); State v. Pixton, 2004 UT App 275, ¶ 4, 98 P.3d 433 (“The correct interpretation of a statute is a question of law and is reviewed for correctness.” (internal quotation marks omitted)). Therefo......
  • People v. Doubleday, No. 08CA2433.
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • 30 August 2012
    ...12, 17–18 (1995) (explaining that the plain meaning of "commit" is not "to be convicted of"); State v. Pixton, 2004 UT App 275, ¶ 9, 98 P.3d 433, 436 (similar); see also Auman v. People, 109 P.3d 647, 651 (Colo.2005) ("A conviction for the crime of felony murder requires that a death occur ......
  • State v. Ireland, No. 20040502-CA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Utah
    • 12 May 2005
    ...of aggravated robbery. We review the lower court's interpretation of statutes for correctness. See State v. Pixton, 2004 UT App 275, ¶ 4, 98 P.3d 433. ¶ 7 Ireland argues that the trial court erred by convicting him of aggravated robbery pursuant to Utah Code sections 76-6-302 and 76-1-601 (......
  • State v. Williams, No. 20050031-CA.
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • 13 October 2006
    ..."`The correct interpretation of a statute is a question of law and is reviewed for correctness.'" State v. Pixton, 2004 UT App 275, ¶ 4, 98 P.3d 433 (quoting State v. Larsen, 865 P.2d 1355, 1357 (Utah 1993)). ¶ 11 Williams also argues that the trial court failed to consider all legally rele......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • State v. Duran, No. 20090943–CA.
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • 4 August 2011
    ...It is the role of the jury to find facts and apply them to the judge's instructions on the law.”); State v. Pixton, 2004 UT App 275, ¶ 4, 98 P.3d 433 (“The correct interpretation of a statute is a question of law and is reviewed for correctness.” (internal quotation marks omitted)). Therefo......
  • People v. Doubleday, No. 08CA2433.
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • 30 August 2012
    ...12, 17–18 (1995) (explaining that the plain meaning of "commit" is not "to be convicted of"); State v. Pixton, 2004 UT App 275, ¶ 9, 98 P.3d 433, 436 (similar); see also Auman v. People, 109 P.3d 647, 651 (Colo.2005) ("A conviction for the crime of felony murder requires that a death occur ......
  • State v. Ireland, No. 20040502-CA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Utah
    • 12 May 2005
    ...of aggravated robbery. We review the lower court's interpretation of statutes for correctness. See State v. Pixton, 2004 UT App 275, ¶ 4, 98 P.3d 433. ¶ 7 Ireland argues that the trial court erred by convicting him of aggravated robbery pursuant to Utah Code sections 76-6-302 and 76-1-601 (......
  • State v. Williams, No. 20050031-CA.
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • 13 October 2006
    ..."`The correct interpretation of a statute is a question of law and is reviewed for correctness.'" State v. Pixton, 2004 UT App 275, ¶ 4, 98 P.3d 433 (quoting State v. Larsen, 865 P.2d 1355, 1357 (Utah 1993)). ¶ 11 Williams also argues that the trial court failed to consider all legally rele......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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