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Name: People v. Self
Case #: D058656
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/04/2012

When the statutory definition of a crime in a foreign jurisdiction does not contain all of the necessary elements of Vehicle Code section 23152, handwritten notations on the foreign judgment regarding a defendant’s BAC that are not relevant to a determination of the crime committed do not establish that the BAC was either admitted or adjudicated and cannot be used to enhance a sentence. Appellant was charged with driving under the influence with three prior convictions, a felony offense. One of the prior convictions was a violation of an Arizona statute that makes it unlawful to operate any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol if the person is impaired to the slightest degree. In finding the Arizona conviction the equivalent of a violation of California’s Vehicle Code section 23152, which requires an appreciable degree of impairment, the trial court relied on handwritten notations on the Arizona judgment indicating BAC levels of “.151 and .157 percent.” The appellate court reversed a Vehicle Code section 23550, subdivision (a), enhancement, finding there was insufficient evidence that the Arizona conviction constituted the equivalent of a violation of the California statute. Athough the trial court could look to the Arizona record of conviction to determine whether the conduct would have violated section 23152, the notations on the judgment did not in any way establish that the BAC was either admitted by or adjudicated against the defendant in Arizona. The notations were irrelevant to a determination of the crime that the defendant committed because the statute could only be violated in one way. Further, the Arizona judgment and the guilty plea did not support the finding that appellant was convicted of a crime requiring an appreciable degree of impairment because boxes on the Arizona forms referencing crimes with BAC elements of .08 percent or greater were not checked, and an alleged Arizona offense requiring a BAC of .15 percent or greater was dismissed.