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Eaglin v. District of Columbia

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

August 27, 2015

REYNARD EAGLIN, APPELLANT,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, APPELLEE

Submitted May 7, 2015

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (CTF-18479-13). (Hon. Robert I. Richter, Trial Judge).

Cameron Robinson and Kenneth M. Robinson were on the brief for appellant.

Eugene A. Adams, Interim Attorney General, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, Rosalyn C. Groce, Deputy Solicitor General, and Janice Y. Sheppard, Assistant Attorney General, were on the brief for appellee.

Before GLICKMAN and EASTERLY, Associate Judges, and RUIZ, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 954

Easterly, Associate Judge

Reynard Eaglin appeals his enhanced sentence for driving under the influence (" DUI" ).[1] As recently amended, the District's DUI sentencing enhancement statute requires the imposition of a mandatory-minimum sentence of at least ten days in jail for an individual convicted of DUI who has a qualifying " prior offense." [2] The statute also now defines the previously undefined term " prior offense" ; it is " any guilty plea or verdict . . . for an offense under District law or a disposition in another jurisdiction for a substantially similar offense . . . [but] does not include an offense where the later of any term of incarceration, supervised release, parole, or probation ceased or expired more than 15 years before the arrest on the current offense." [3] The question in this case is whether Mr. Eaglin has such a " disposition," and thus a prior offense, where he pled guilty to a DUI offense in Maryland in 2007, received probation before judgment which he served without incident, and thus avoided a DUI conviction. We conclude that Mr. Eaglin does have a qualifying prior offense justifying an enhanced sentence for his D.C. DUI conviction, and thus we affirm.

I. Facts and Procedural History

In October 2013 the government charged Mr. Eaglin with DUI, Operating a

Page 955

Vehicle While Impaired (" OWI" ), and Reckless Driving.[4] The government subsequently filed enhancement papers under D.C. Code § 50-2206.13 asserting that Mr. Eaglin had a qualifying prior offense from Maryland justifying an enhanced sentence upon conviction for DUI and OWI.[5] Mr. Eaglin filed an opposition asserting that he did not have a qualifying offense. He explained that although he had been charged with " a DUI in Maryland" [6] in 2007, he had received probation before judgment.[7] Accordingly, Mr. Eaglin asserted that " [t]he prior case/offense in Maryland was NOT a conviction," and further asserted that " [t]here was never an admission nor determination of guilt."

The parties subsequently supplemented their pleadings, and the trial court held a hearing. At that proceeding, the government represented without contradiction that there was no " dispute here, that, in this case [in Maryland], the defendant did plead guilty," and defense counsel likewise admitted that Mr. Eaglin had " pled guilty," though counsel continued to maintain that the disposition of probation before judgment meant that " this would not be held against him, that it would be expugnable, that . . . this would have no effect on him in the future." The trial court rejected this argument and ruled that Mr. Eaglin's Maryland guilty plea constituted a " disposition" under the enhancement statute. Mr. Eaglin pled guilty to DUI under D.C. Code ยง 50-2206.11, and the trial court sentenced Mr. Eaglin to ninety ...


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