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State v. Heidelberg

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Erie

June 7, 2019

State of Ohio Appellee
v.
Andre Heidelberg Appellant

          Trial Court No. 2016-CR-450

          Kevin J. Baxter, Erie County Prosecuting Attorney, and Anthony A. Battista III, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Henry Schaefer, for appellant.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT

          MAYLE, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Andre Heidelberg, appeals the driver's license suspensions imposed by the Erie County Court of Common Pleas in its July 18, 2017 judgment, following his convictions of attempted failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the trial court judgment, in part, and affirm, in part.

         I. Background

         {¶ 2} On November 8, 2016, Andre Heidelberg was charged in a four-count indictment with (1) failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, a violation of R.C. 2921.331(B) and (C)(5)(a)(ii), a third-degree felony; (2) operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them, a violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a) and (G)(1)(b), a first-degree misdemeanor; (3) operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them, a violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(2)(a), (A)(2)(b), and (G)(1)(b), a first-degree misdemeanor; and (4) operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them, a violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(f) and (G)(1)(b), a first-degree misdemeanor. These charges arose from a June 12, 2016 incident in which Heidelberg failed to stop in response to a signal from police officers, instead leading them on a high-speed chase that ended when Heidelberg crashed his motorcycle into a patrol car. Following the crash, officers detected the odor of alcohol on or about him.

         {¶ 3} On May 22, 2017, Heidelberg entered a plea of guilty to Count 1, amended to attempted failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, a violation of R.C. 2921.331(C)(4) and 2923.02(A), and Count 2. Counts 3 and 4 were dismissed, and the state agreed to remain silent at sentencing. The trial court made a finding of guilt, ordered a presentence investigation report, and continued sentencing to July 13, 2017.

         {¶ 4} The court sentenced Heidelberg to 12 months in prison on Count 1 and 180 days in jail on Count 2, to be served concurrently; imposed a "mandatory" lifetime driver's license suspension on Count 1 and a three-year driver's license suspension on Count 2; and imposed a fine of $375. His conviction and sentence were memorialized in a judgment entry journalized on July 18, 2017. Heidelberg appealed and assigns the following two errors for our review:

         I. THE TRIAL COURT IMPOSED A SENTENCE CONTRARY TO LAW.

         II. THE COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT SENTENCED APPELLANT TO MAXIMUM LICENSE SUSPENSIONS.

         II. Law and Analysis

         {¶ 5} Heidelberg challenges only the driver's license suspensions imposed for Counts 1 and 2. He argues in his first assignment of error that the lifetime suspension imposed for Count 1 was contrary to law. In his second assignment of error, he argues that the trial court abused its discretion when it imposed maximum license suspensions on both Counts 1 and 2. We consider each of these assignments in turn.

         A. The lifetime driver's license suspension.

         {¶ 6} The trial court sentenced Heidelberg under R.C. 2921.331(E) on the attempted-failure-to-comply conviction, which requires the court to impose a class-two driver's license suspension. A class-two driver's license suspension is a suspension for a definite period of three years to life. R.C. 4510.02(A)(2). Heidelberg argues that he should not have been sentenced under R.C. 2921.331(E); he maintains that he should have been ...


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