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COA: Man not entitled to have restricted access to OWI conviction

April 30, 2014

Because a man committed another crime while on probation, he failed to satisfy the obligations imposed as part of his sentence, so he did not qualify to have access to his conviction records restricted under Indiana Code 35-38-8, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.

Austin Pittman was convicted of Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content of 0.10 or more in December 2000. He was placed on probation, with terms that he abstain from the consumption of alcohol. But he was charged with Class D felony operating while intoxicated with a BAC of 0.10 or more in March 2001. In March 2013, he petitioned to restrict access to the record of conviction for the misdemeanor. The trial court denied his petition based on his subsequent conviction of OWI after the initial conviction.

“Indiana Code sections 35-38-8-3 and 35-38-8-4 clearly and unambiguously require that, before a trial court may restrict access to records of a person’s conviction, the person must have ‘satisfied any other obligation imposed on the person as part of the sentence.’ Here, as part of Pittman’s sentence, he was placed on supervised probation. The terms of his probation included that he abstain from alcohol and not commit any new criminal offenses. Instead of satisfying these obligations, Pittman drank alcohol, drove while intoxicated and was subsequently convicted for another OWI offense, this time a Class D felony which resulted in his admission that he violated the terms of his probation. We therefore agree with the trial court that Pittman did not satisfy all obligations imposed on him as part of his sentence,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote in Austin G. Pittman v. State of Indiana,  06A05-1305-CR-243.

The court noted that I.C. 35-38-8 has since been replaced with 35-38-9, but Chapter 8 was in place at the time the trial court ruled on his petition.

The judges also rejected the state’s claim that it did not have jurisdiction over the appeal, noting that a trial court’s alleged lack of personal jurisdiction does not deprive the court on appeal of jurisdiction.
 

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