Interesting case here from the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District. It is a good example of how the court analyzes out of state DWI related convictions to determine whether they are the equivalent of a Missouri DWI conviction. This is important when it comes to using the out of state DWI convictions to charge an individual with a higher charge under the Chronic Offender statute.
In Missouri, four prior of intoxication-related traffic offenses (“IRTOs”) means the state can charge you with chronic offender status, thereby making it a felony a Class B felony.
The Prosecution admitted evidence of six previous occasions of IRTOs from Arkansas. Defendant appeals the admission of four of these previous IRTOs.
The court found two of the underlying charges to be distinguishable from the ruling in the case of State v. Coday, 496 S.W.3d 572 (Mo. App. 2016), which did not find IRTO convictions in Kansas, because they failed to meet Missouri’s evidentiary standards for a DWI. Kansas Law punishes persons operating or attempting to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. In order to use an IRTO out of Kansas, there must be evidence that the individual was convicted of operating a motor vehicle as required for a Missouri DWI.
In this case, two of the underlying charges were municipal ordinance violations. The record did not provide the wording of these municipal ordinance. The court held: “Moreover, “a judgment that, on its face, shows a guilty plea or a finding of guilt of an [IRTO] can be treated as a prior conviction for purposes of enhancement under § 577.023.” Craig, 287 S.W.3d at 681–82 . . . Stated another way, we cannot say here that it was unreasonable for the trial court to infer that a conviction for “driving while intoxicated” was a conviction for driving while intoxicated.”
While, two of the proffered charges may have been thrown out following the ruling in Coday as the statute provided for operate or be in physical control. The court already had 4 prior IRTOs so it declined to make a decision.
Bottom line, if you have previous DWIs in another state, make sure you present the wording of the statute or ordinance in order to exclude the IRTOs as not complying with Missouri Law.