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State v. Rigsby

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Special Division

November 19, 2019

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
DEAN ALAN RIGSBY, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Johnson County The Honorable Chad N. Pfister, Judge

          Before: Thomas H. Newton, P.J., and Alok Ahuja and Thomas N. Champan, JJ.

          Alok Ahuja, Judge

         Dean Rigsby was convicted of driving while intoxicated following a bench trial in the Circuit Court of Johnson County. The court found that Rigsby was a persistent offender based on his prior convictions for driving-related offenses in 2005 and 2006 in Illinois. The court therefore entered a conviction for a class D felony, and sentenced Rigsby accordingly. Rigsby appeals. He argues that the circuit court erred in finding him to be a persistent offender, because the offense of which he was convicted in 2005 does not qualify as an "intoxication-related traffic offense" under § 577.023.1(4).[1] We agree. Rigsby's conviction and sentence for driving while intoxicated are reversed, and the case is remanded to the circuit court for entry of a conviction of driving while intoxicated as a class B misdemeanor, and resentencing accordingly.

         Factual Background

         On March 10, 2016, just before 11:00 p.m., Officer Ryan Easley of the Warrensburg Police Department observed a Ford F-150 truck drive past his vehicle without any headlights on.[2] Officer Easley then observed the truck roll through a stop sign without coming to a complete stop. Officer Easley conducted a traffic stop.

         Rigsby was driving the truck. When he approached the vehicle, Officer Easley smelled the odor of alcohol and noticed that Rigsby's eyes were bloodshot and glassed over. Rigsby was nonresponsive and confused when Officer Easley asked for his driver's license and proof of insurance. Once Officer Easley secured Rigsby's Illinois driver's license, a records check revealed that it had been revoked.

         After being read his Miranda[3] rights, Rigsby stated that he had consumed three "Millers" that evening. Officer Easley requested that Rigsby step out of the truck. As Rigsby exited, he stumbled and held on to the vehicle for balance. After Rigsby failed multiple field sobriety tests, Officer Easley placed him under arrest. Rigsby was transported to the police station, where he refused to cooperate with a breath test.

         The State charged Rigsby with two counts: the class D felony of driving while intoxicated as a persistent offender; and a misdemeanor count of driving while his license was revoked.

         Rigsby waived his right to a jury trial. Before evidence was presented, the circuit court conducted a hearing concerning Rigsby's status as a persistent offender. At the hearing the State presented two exhibits, which were admitted without objection, concerning Rigsby's previous Illinois convictions. Exhibit 1 addressed Rigsby's 2006 conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol in St. Clair County, Illinois. Exhibit 2 contained 80 pages of records relating to Rigsby's 2005 conviction in Johnson County, Illinois, for driving with marijuana in his breath, blood, or urine.

         In addition to Exhibit 2, the State called Illinois State Police Captain Greg Kilduff to testify regarding Rigsby's 2005 conviction. Captain Kilduff testified that on March 18, 2005, at a little after 10:00 p.m., he observed a vehicle pull into the parking lot of a gas station which was closed near Goreville, Illinois. Captain Kilduff made contact with the occupants of the vehicle because he thought "somebody was going to try to break in or [the occupants] were up to something."

         Rigsby was the vehicle's driver; he was accompanied by a passenger. Captain Kilduff testified that he "smelled a strong odor of burnt cannabis" when he approached the vehicle. He testified that Rigsby "had somewhat of a sleepy appearance," "his eyes were glassy," and that his speech "was kind of slow and thick tongued." Rigsby failed multiple field sobriety tests. A preliminary breath test was negative for alcohol.

         After obtaining Rigsby's consent, Captain Kilduff searched the vehicle and found a little over fourteen grams of cannabis along with rolling papers. The vehicle's passenger stated that the cannabis was his, and that "he had smoked cannabis about two hours prior to the stop with Mr. Rigsby." Rigsby was then arrested for driving with cannabis in his system.

         Based on the State's exhibits and Captain Kilduff's testimony, the circuit court found beyond a reasonable doubt that Rigsby was a persistent offender due to his two prior Illinois convictions.

         The circuit court then held a bench-trial and found Rigsby guilty of both driving while intoxicated and driving while revoked. The circuit court imposed a three-year sentence for the driving while intoxicated conviction, but suspended the execution of the sentence and placed Rigsby on probation for five years. The court imposed a $250 fine for the driving while revoked count.

         Rigsby appeals. On appeal, he challenges only his conviction and sentence for driving while intoxicated.

         Standard ...


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