Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If Prosecution Concedes that Prosecution of Misdemeanor DUI is Barred by the Single Criminal Episode Statute, the Felony Based on the Same Facts is Also Barred.

State of Utah  v. Troy Munk Sommerville, 2010 UT App 336 (Utah Court of Appeals November 26, 2010).

When an offense is charged and prosecuted, statute prohibits further prosecution of any criminal act that is closely related in time and, is incident to an attempt or an accomplishment of the same criminal objective.

Sommerville was arrested for DUI and was cited for following too closely and other minor traffic offenses.  The arresting officer issued the citation by mail for only the following too closely offense.  Sommerville paid the fine and was later formally charged with the DUI and other traffic offenses.

Murray City, upon learning that Sommerville had paid the fine, dismissed the remaining charges because they believed them to be barred by statute.  Salt Lake County then charged then Sommerville with felony DUI and the other traffic offenses.  The district court dismissed the misdemeanor charges, but allowed the prosecution of the DUI.  Sommerville appealed.

The Court of Appeals determined that the because of the Murray City’s concession that the offenses were part of the same criminal episode.  The Court of Appeals found that based on the City’s agreement, the offenses were part of the same criminal episode.  And that, because all offenses were within the jurisdiction of the district court, and because the Prosecution failed to overcome the presumption that the prosecution was aware of the offenses the trial court was reversed and the matter is dismissed.


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