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Martinez v. People

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

January 13, 2020

Quinten Martinez, Petitioner
v.
The People of the State of Colorado. Respondent

          Certiorari to the District Court Larimer County District Court Case No. 17CV31055 Honorable Gregory M. Lammons, Judge.

          Attorneys for Petitioner: Megan A. Ring, Public Defender C. May Nickel, Deputy Public Defender Fort Collins, Colorado

          Attorneys for Respondent: Clifford E. Riedel, District Attorney, Eighth Judicial District Joshua D. Ritter, Deputy District Attorney Fort Collins, Colorado

          OPINION

          HOOD, JUSTICE.

         ¶1 After pleading guilty to Driving While Ability Impaired, Quinten Martinez was sentenced to jail and probation under section 42-4-1307, C.R.S. (2019). The county court twice revoked his probation and resentenced him. Martinez has served 608 days in jail related to this offense, of which 458 stem from probation violations.

         ¶2 We conclude that the sentence imposed for Martinez's second probation violation was illegal. We hold that under section 42-4-1307(7), the maximum cumulative amount of jail time a court may impose for probation violations stemming from a second or subsequent alcohol- or drug-related misdemeanor driving offense is 365 days. We therefore reverse the district court's judgment and remand the case with instructions to vacate Martinez's sentence, resentence him under section 42-4-1307(6) and (7), and correct the mittimus.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         ¶3 Three procedural events drive the legal analysis in this case:

• In August 2015, Martinez pled guilty to a fourth misdemeanor traffic offense of Driving While Ability Impaired.[1] The court sentenced him to 515 days in the county jail-150 days to be served directly and 365 days suspended-and forty-eight months of supervised probation.
• In August 2016, the court revoked Martinez's probation and resentenced him to 720 days in jail with 365 days suspended-leaving 355 days to be served directly-and thirty-six months of supervised probation.
• In July 2017, the court revoked Martinez's probation a second time and sentenced him to 365 days in jail.

         ¶4 Martinez appealed this last sentencing order to the district court, arguing that section 42-4-1307(7)(c)(1) limits to 365 days the cumulative period of incarceration for probation violations for misdemeanor traffic offenses involving alcohol or drugs ("DUI").[2] Because he had already served 355 days in jail for probation violations, he asserts that the maximum jail sentence the court could impose was ten days. Martinez also moved for a stay of execution, which the trial court granted. By the time the stay entered, Martinez had already served 103 days of his 365-day sentence on the second revocation.

         ¶5 The district court affirmed the sentence. It concluded that when a defendant violates probation, "[t]he trial court has the discretion to either impose suspended jail time and continue the defendant on probation or to revoke probation and resentence the defendant."

         ¶6 We granted Martinez's petition for certiorari review.[3]

         II. Analysis

         ¶7 After discussing the standard of review, we interpret section 42-4-1307. Because the statute's silence regarding sentencing after revocation creates ambiguity, we apply several canons of statutory construction that help us discern the legislature's intent. We conclude that when a defendant is sentenced to probation as part of his sentence for a second or subsequent DUI offense and then violates the terms of that probation, the court may impose all or part ...


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