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Driver's appeal based on misinterpretation of previous COA decision

January 30, 2012

A woman convicted of Class A misdemeanor driving while suspended within 10 years of a prior infraction misinterpreted a prior case in support of her appeal.

In Latoyia Billingsley v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-1107-CR-301, police stopped Latoyia Billingsley when she disregarded a traffic signal in January 2011. She produced an altered Illinois license and when questioned by the officer who initiated the traffic stop, admitted that she knew her Indiana driver’s license had been suspended indefinitely in June 2010. The officer issued two citations – one for driving while suspended within 10 years of a similar prior infraction and the other for disregarding an automatic signal. The vehicle was impounded and Billingsley was allowed to leave.

At a bench trial in June 2011, the state admitted into evidence Billingsley’s driving record, which indicated that her driver’s license had been suspended indefinitely since June 11, 2010, stemming from her failure to appear in a vehicular offense. The driving record noted that her license had been suspended five other times, and she had been convicted of driving while suspended in 2007.

Citing Trotter v. State, 838 N.E.2d 553, 560 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), Billingsley argued she should be charged only with an infraction, not a misdemeanor. But the COA held that the Trotter case does not apply, as in that matter, the driver’s record showed his license had been previously suspended, but not that he had been convicted of driving while suspended. The COA therefore affirmed the trial court in the Billingsley case.



 

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