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Habitual enhancement not concurrent sentence, COA holds

June 29, 2018

A habitual vehicular substance offender enhancement may not be imposed as a concurrent sentence, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday, sending a case in which that had been done back to the trial court.

An appellate panel affirmed Alonzo R. Weekly’s conviction of Level 6 felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated and his habitual vehicular substance offender enhancement, and it also determined that his five-year sentence was not inappropriate. However, the means by which the trial court imposed Weekly’s sentence was erroneous. Citing Kilgore v. State, 922 N.E.2d 114, 120 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010) and Greer v. State, 680 N.E.2d 526, 527 (Ind. 1997), Judge Edward Najam wrote for the panel that a habitual offender finding punishment was improperly applied in Alonzo R. Weekly v. State of Indiana,
20A03-1712-CR-2922.

“We hold that an HVSO finding does not constitute a separate crime nor result in a separate sentence but is an enhancement to an underlying felony conviction. The trial court erred when it ordered the HVSO sentence to run as a separate, consecutive sentence. We reverse that portion of the sentencing order and remand to the trial court with instructions to resentence Weekly in accordance with this opinion,” Najam wrote.

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