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City of Helena v. O'Connell

Supreme Court of Montana

March 20, 2019

CITY OF HELENA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
KRISTI ANNE O'CONNELL, Defendant and Appellant.

          Argued and Submitted: January 23, 2019

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the First Judicial District, In and For the County of Lewis and Clark, Cause No. BDC 17-96 Honorable Michael F. McMahon, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Chad Wright, Appellate Defender, James Reavis (argued), Assistant Appellate Defender, Helena, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Aislinn W. Shaul-Jensen (argued), Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana Thomas J. Jodoin, Helena City Attorney, Erik Coate, Deputy City Attorney, Helena, Montana

          OPINION

          Ingrid Gustafson Justice

         ¶1 Defendant Kristi Anne O'Connell appeals from a First Judicial District Court order upholding the denial of her motion to dismiss her driving under the influence charge. We affirm.

         ¶2 We restate the issue on appeal as follows:

Whether the District Court correctly upheld the Municipal Court's denial of O'Connell's motion to dismiss her driving under the influence charge as violative of her statutory protection against multiple prosecutions and her constitutional protection against double jeopardy.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶3 The parties stipulated to the following facts in the proceeding before the Municipal Court.

Helena Police Officer Kaleczyc's report states that on or about June 3, 2016, at approximately 8:49 a.m., he arrived at a multiple vehicle crash on the intersection of Lyndale and Last Chance Gulch, Helena, Montana. After investigation, he determined that O'Connell had failed to drive in a safe and prudent manner and had rear-ended another vehicle. In total, five vehicles were damaged in the accident.
During his investigation, Officer Kaleczyc learned O'Connell had missed a turn and was looking for an opportunity to turn around. O'Connell explained she was in the process of looping back around when the accident happened. Based on his review of O'Connell's phone log and text messages, Officer Kaleczyc determined that O'Connell was not using her cell phone while driving. O'Connell informed Officer Kaleczyc that she took prescription medication for Lupus, depression, and sleeping. Officer Kaleczyc reported that he observed no behaviors indicating O'Connell was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. On June 3, 2016, Officer Kaleczyc charged O'Connell with careless driving for failure to operate her truck in a safe and prudent manner in violation of § 61-8-302, MCA.

         ¶4 On June 9, 2016, O'Connell pleaded guilty to careless driving in violation of § 61-8-302, MCA, and Helena Municipal Court sentenced her with a $90 fine.

         ¶5 On October 9, 2016, after reviewing O'Connell's toxicology report, the Helena Attorney's Office (City) additionally charged O'Connell with driving under the influence (DUI). O'Connell pleaded not guilty and moved the Municipal Court to dismiss her DUI charge as a subsequent prosecution barred by § 46-11-504(1), MCA. On December 22, 2016, the Municipal Court denied O'Connell's motion to dismiss the DUI charge. Pursuant to a plea agreement, O'Connell pleaded guilty to negligent endangerment, preserved her right to appeal, and timely appealed the denial of her motion to dismiss to the District Court.

         ¶6 On appeal, the parties stipulated to the following facts.

On June 3, 2016, O'Connell caused a multiple-car accident at the intersection of Lyndale and Last Chance Gulch. O'Connell told the dispatched officer she didn't have a clear memory of how she caused the accident. She was cited for careless driving.
When O'Connell reported she took medication for depression, difficulty sleeping, and Lupus, the citing officer asked for a blood sample. ...

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