State v. Hancock

State v. Hancock, 2016 MT 21 (Jan. 26, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred by denying Hancock’s motion to dismiss a DUI conviction based on his claim that his 1999 DUI conviction, used to support the felony charge, was constitutionally infirm, and (2) whether the district court erred by stating Hancock was convicted of a DUI rather than a DUI per se.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) yes.

Affirmed and remanded for correction of the judgment

Facts: The state charged Hancock with a fourth DUI offense, a felony, based on his having been convicted of one DUI in 1999 and two DUIs in 2004. Hancock moved to dismiss the 1999 conviction, alleging his constitutional right to counsel had been violated in that proceeding. At the hearing on the motion, both Hancock and the judge who presided over the 1999 trial testified.

Procedural Posture & Holding: The district court denied Hancock’s motion to dismiss the 1999 conviction. Hancock appeals, and the Supreme Court affirms, but remands for correction of the judgment.

Reasoning: (1) Given the testimony and evidence presented to the district court, Hancock has not satisfied his burden of proof.

(2) Hancock pled guilty to a DUI per se, not a DUI. Although it has no bearing on the integrity of the felony conviction, the Court remands to the district court with instructions to amend the judgment so that it states the correct offense for which Hancock was convicted.