State v. Dawson

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 03-30-2016
  • Case #: A154310
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J., for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Hadlock, C.J.

Under ORS 809.235(1)(b), the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution does not bar the use of a prior uncounseled conviction to revoke a defendant’s driving privileges where the prior conviction is not used to support the defendant’s guilt or to enhance punishment.

Defendant appealed a trial court’s sentence permanently revoking Defendant’s driving privileges under ORS 809.235(1)(b), arguing that the State’s use of a prior DUI conviction Defendant pleaded guilty to after waiving his right to counsel violated Defendant’s right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court held that under the standards announced by the United States Supreme Court in Burgett v. Texas, 389 U.S. 109, 88 S. Ct. 258, 19 L. Ed. 2d 319 (1967), and Lewis v. United States, 445 U.S. 55, 100 S. Ct. 915, 63 L. Ed. 2d 198 (1980), a prior uncounseled conviction cannot be used to support guilt or enhance punishment, Burgett, 389 U.S. at 115, but the State’s may use a prior uncounseled conviction to enforce a civil disability (i.e., revocation of driving privileges) because it does not support guilt or enhance the punishment. Lewis, 445 US at 67. The Court found that because the Oregon legislature’s general purpose in enacting the Vehicle Code is primarily remedial, the State’s use of Defendant’s prior DUI conviction did not violate Defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights.

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