July 20, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Probationary DUI Sentence Inappropriate Where Defendant Convicted of a Felony

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Coleman on Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Aggravated Driving After Revocation Prohibited—Driving Under the Influence—Careless Driving—Department of Corrections—Probation—Miranda—Motion to Suppress—Prosecutorial Misconduct—Illegal Sentence.

Coleman was convicted of aggravated driving after revocation prohibited—driving under the influence (ADARP); driving under the influence (DUI)—third or subsequent alcohol related offense; and careless driving. The trial court sentenced him to concurrent terms of one year in the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC) on the ADARP conviction; one year of jail and one year of additional jail, suspended subject to completion of four years of probation, on the DUI conviction; and 90 days in jail on the careless driving conviction.

On appeal, Coleman contended that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress. He argued that because he was in custody when he first said he wanted to be taken to bond out and had not yet been given a Miranda advisement, that statement should have been suppressed. However, Coleman was not in custody during the brief traffic stop for Miranda purposes. Therefore, it was not error to deny the motion to suppress.

Coleman next contended that the prosecutor’s comments in summation on his pre-arrest and post-arrest silence violated his constitutional right against self-incrimination. Because defense counsel opened the door on the subject, Coleman’s pre-arrest silence was at issue, and the prosecutor’s comment was not error. Additionally, although the prosecutor’s comment on Coleman’s post-arrest silence was error, it was brief and did not materially contribute to defendant’s conviction. Therefore, there was no reversible error for this comment.

Lastly, Coleman contended that his probationary sentence is illegal under the DUI sentencing statute, C.R.S. § 42-4-1307. C.R.S. § 42-4-1307(6) prohibits a trial court from imposing probation on a defendant sentenced to DOC custody where that defendant has been sentenced to prison on a felony. Because Coleman cannot be sentenced to both the custody of the DOC and probation, his sentence was improper.

The judgment of conviction was affirmed. The entire sentence was vacated and the case was remanded for resentencing.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

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