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Name: People v. Barclay
Case #: H038109
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/11/2013

Juvenile adjudication for felony vehicular manslaughter constitutes a “prior violation” within the meaning of Vehicle Code section 23550.5, subdivision (a)(3) and may be used to elevate a charge of driving under the influence to a felony. Barclay drove his car off the rode and into a tree, suffering injuries. Blood drawn at the hospital reflected Barclay had a BAC of 0.15 percent. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (Veh. Code, § 23152, subds. (a) and (b)). The information charged a prior felony vehicular manslaughter Barclay suffered as a juvenile to elevate the current offenses to felonies pursuant to section 23550.5, subdivision (a)(3). Barclay waived a jury trial and submitted to the court the question whether his juvenile prior could be used to elevate the present offenses. After the court found the prior could be used, Barclay pled no contest to driving under the influence, admitting his BAC was 0.15 percent or higher. He appealed the use of his juvenile prior. Held: Affirmed. A section 23152 conviction may be elevated to a felony where the defendant has a “prior violation” of an offense enumerated in section 23550.5, subdivision (a), within 10 years of the current offense. One of the enumerated offenses is a prior violation of Penal Code section 192, subdivision (c)(1), that was punished as a felony. Although juvenile adjudications are not “convictions” (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 203), a minor may be adjudged a ward where he or she “violates” any criminal law (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 602, subd. (a)). Section 23550.5, subdivision (a)(3) uses the word “violation,” not “conviction.” This demonstrates a legislative intent to include felony juvenile adjudications within the ambit of section 23550.5, subdivision (a)(3). Here, Barclay admitted a felony violation of section 192, subdivision (c)(1). This offense occurred three years before the present case. Allowing both adult convictions and juvenile adjudications to elevate a section 23152 offense to a felony effectuates the strong policy against repeat offenders reflected in section 23550.5.