Wednesday, August 10, 2011

DUI Law - Alaska Jail Sentence for Importing Alcohol

In Egoak v. State of Alaska, Not Reported in P.3d, 2011 WL 3305424 (Alaska App.), the defendant was sentenced to a maximum term of one year to serve for importing alcohol into a dry village. He appeals his sentence, arguing that his due process rights were violated because he had no notice that he would be sentenced to the maximum term as a worst offender. At the sentencing hearing, the State recommended a flat-time sentence of sixty days for these offenses. The prosecutor noted that Egoak had thirty-six prior misdemeanor convictions, including three prior convictions for importation of alcohol in 2000, 2001, and 2004, and six prior driving under the influence convictions, two of them within the past fifteen years. The prosecutor also noted that Egoak had a history of assaultive behavior. Egoak's attorney agreed that a sixty-day sentence “does seem warranted in light of the criminal history.”

Magistrate Burley rejected the parties' recommendation of a sixty-day sentence and imposed a flat-time sentence of 365 days. After imposing this sentence, the magistrate invited Egoak's attorney to make additional argument, but he declined.

On appeal, the court affirmed:

"Egoak's claim that he had no notice that he faced a possible maximum sentence is without merit. At Egoak's change of plea hearing, the magistrate expressly advised Egoak that she could “go all the way up to the maximum” of one year to serve in sentencing him.FN2 Egoak said he understood. Moreover, it is well-settled in case law that a lengthy history of misdemeanor convictions will justify a worst offender finding and the imposition of a maximum term."

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