Justices approve 'double enhancement'

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The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the use of the same prior conviction to both elevate a defendant’s charge to a felony and find him a habitual substance offender because of explicit legislative direction on the enhancements.

In Clint Beldon v. State of Indiana, No. 43S05-0910-CR-496, Clint Beldon appealed the trial court’s usage of a prior Class D felony conviction to elevate his most recent conviction of operating while intoxicated in a manner that endangers a person from a Class A misdemeanor to Class D felony. Beldon also was sentenced as a habitual substance offender.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed, but the Supreme Court found the trial court could use the same prior conviction based on legislation. Beldon’s 2003 Class D felony OWI conviction, which provided the predicate offense for the progressive penalty elevation of his misdemeanor conviction to a felony, was used as a predicate offense for the specialized habitual offender finding, not for a general habitual offender finding.

In general, absent explicit legislative direction, a sentence imposed following a conviction under a progressive penalty statute can’t be further increased under either the general habitual offender statute or a specific habitualized offender statute. But the requisite legislative direction exists to authorize an underlying elevated conviction to be enhanced by the specialized habitual substance offender enhancement, wrote Justice Frank Sullivan. A 1996 amendment provided direction that prior convictions for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, including those where the charge has been elevated because of a prior conviction, properly served as predicate offenses for habitual substance offender enhancements.

The justices also ruled against Beldon’s argument that the 2003 OWI conviction and the instant offense are not “unrelated” because the former was used to enhance the latter. But the high court already rejected that argument in Beach v. State, 496 N.E.2d 43, 44 (Ind. 1986).


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.