48 + 0 = 48

State v. Otani (ICA February 28, 2019)
Background. Suzanne Satomi Chin-Yin Otani was convicted of one count of operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant; better known as DUI. At her sentencing, Otani argued that she serve no jail despite the fact that at the time of the offense a minor was a passenger in the vehicle. This fact, countered the prosecution, triggered a mandatory 48 hours jail pursuant to the DUI statute. The district court agreed with the prosecution and imposed 48 hours jail. Otani appealed.

The OUI Statute’s Enhancements. The OUI statute contains an enhancement at sentencing:

In addition to a sentence imposed under paragraphs (1) through (3), any person eighteen years of age or older who is convicted under this section and who operated a vehicle with a passenger, in or on the vehicle, who was younger than fifteen years of age, shall be sentenced to an additional mandatory fine of $500 and an additional mandatory term of imprisonment of forty-eight hours[.]

HRS § 291E-61(b)(4). Otani argued that the district court did not impose any jail and, therefore, this provision did not apply. Otani’s argument focused on the phrase “in addition to.” The ICA disagreed.

“In Addition to” means just that. The ICA read the statute to mean that when this fact is proven—operating a vehicle with a passenger younger than 15 years old—the enhancement comes into play. The defendant must be sentenced to an “additional” $500 fine and 48 hours jail. And so, when the sentencing court imposes no jail as a first-time offender, the enhancement requires it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

HSC Extends Right to Counsel (and a Deadline) in Proceedings Before the HSC

Police Officers Can't Testify if the Driver was "Intoxicated" in Drunk Driving Trials

Officer’s False Testimony Prompts New Trial Even Though it did not Pertain to the Defendant’s Guilt