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Williams v. State

March 26, 1998

C. L. WILLIAMS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/28/96 TRIAL JUDGE: HON. BILLY JOE LANDRUM COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JONES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

Before Pittman, P.j., McRAE And Roberts, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Roberts, Justice, For The Court:

BY: BILLY L. GORE

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JEANNENE T. PACIFIC

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:

MANDATE ISSUED:

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

¶1. C.L. Williams was indicted by the Grand Jury of Jones County, Mississippi, on April 22, 1996, for the crime of felony DUI in violation of Miss. Code Ann. § 63-11-30(2)(c). The offense occurred on January 9, 1996, when Williams was stopped on Interstate 59 in the City of Laurel, Mississippi. Williams submitted to an intoxilyzer test that showed his blood-alcohol content (BAC) to be .191. He had been convicted twice previously for DUI, with the first conviction on August 1, 1991, and the second on July 21, 1993.

¶2. Williams' trial was had on August 28, 1996, with the Honorable Billy Joe Landrum presiding. At the Conclusion of the evidence the jury returned with a guilty verdict. Judge Landrum sentenced Williams to five years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with forty-two months suspended and eighteen months to serve in the penitentiary. He was also placed on forty-two months probation and assessed a fine of $2,000, plus court costs.

¶3. Williams' motion for a new trial was denied by the trial court. Aggrieved by the decision of the lower court, Williams has appealed to this Court raising the following:

I. WHETHER THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN OVERRULING WILLIAMS' MOTION TO DISMISS THE FELONY CAUSE ON THE GROUNDS THAT THE INDICTMENT WAS LEGALLY INSUFFICIENT TO CHARGE A FELONY.

II. WHETHER THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN OVERRULING WILLIAMS' MOTION FOR A BIFURCATED TRIAL, THEREBY ALLOWING THE TWO UNDERLYING MISDEMEANORS TO BE PUBLISHED AND ARGUED TO THE JURY.

III. WHETHER THE OFFENSE WAS PROPERLY BEFORE THE LOWER COURT BECAUSE THE ARRESTING OFFICER DID NOT ISSUE A UNIFORM STANDARD TICKET FOR THE THIRD OFFENSE.

¶4. In light of this Court's recent decisions in McIlwain v. State, 700 So. 2d 586 (Miss. 1997) and Weaver v. State, No. 95-KA-01034-SCT, 1997 WL 703057 (Miss. Nov. 13, 1997), we find all three issues are without merit. The lower court's decision is affirmed.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

¶5. C.L. Williams was traveling along Interstate 59 in the Laurel, Mississippi, on the evening of January 9, 1996. He passed an officer who was checking for speeding vehicles with radar. Officer Bryan Boutwell testified that Williams was driving with his headlights on bright, so Boutwell followed him. Boutwell stated that he observed Williams cross the center line with the left side of his car. Williams was stopped and asked to produce a valid driver's license, which he did not do. Boutwell testified that he could smell the odor of alcohol and requested Williams to get out of the car.

¶6. At this point, Boutwell observed Williams to have slurred speech and glossy eyes. Williams failed the hand-held portable intoxilyzer. Officer Doug Hill, the DUI officer on duty, was contacted. Williams was asked to perform three field sobriety tests. In the opinions of the officers, Williams failed these tests. Williams was placed under investigative detention for possible DUI, and transported to the Laurel Police Station. Having been previously convicted of two misdemeanor DUIs, Williams was charged with third offense felony DUI after he registered .191 BAC on the printout of the CMI Intoxilyzer 5000 test.

¶7. At the close of the State's case-in-chief, Williams moved for a directed verdict on the ground the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to sustain a conviction of felony DUI. Williams claimed the proof only demonstrated two first offense misdemeanors and that by virtue of the charges alleged in the indictment he was entitled to a bifurcated trial. The defense presented no witnesses, and Williams did not testify in his own behalf. The jury found Williams guilty of felony DUI. Judge Landrum imposed the sentence and assessed the fine and court costs. Williams' motion for a new trial was overruled. Williams now seeks relief from the lower court's decision by appealing to this Court.

DISCUSSION OF THE ISSUES

I. WHETHER THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN OVERRULING WILLIAMS' MOTION TO DISMISS THE FELONY CAUSE ON THE GROUNDS THAT THE INDICTMENT WAS LEGALLY INSUFFICIENT TO CHARGE A FELONY.

ΒΆ8. Williams made a pre-trial motion and a motion for a directed verdict at the close of the State's case on the ground that the face of the indictment alleged nothing more than a misdemeanor based on this Court's holding in Page v. State. Both motions were overruled. On appeal, Williams argues that the indictment fails to specifically charge that he had been convicted of anything other than ...


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