State v. ChamblisAnnotate this Case
Defendant pleaded guilty to operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC), sixth offense. The circuit court sentenced Defendant to four years' imprisonment. The State appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred by excluding additional evidence that the State sought to submit to prove that Defendant possessed six, rather than five, prior drunk-driving related convictions. The court of appeals reversed the judgment of conviction, concluding that the circuit court erred in excluding the additional evidence and that the evidence was sufficient to prove the additional prior conviction. The remanded with instructions to enter an amended judgment of conviction for operating with a PAC as a seventh offense and to impose a sentence accordingly. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals and upheld Defendant’s conviction, holding that because a conviction of operating a PAC as a seventh offense carries a greater range of punishment than does a sixth offense, the court of appeals’ remedy rendered Defendant’s plea unknowing, unintelligent, and involuntary. Further, a remedy that requires a defendant to withdraw his guilty plea is violative of due process.