An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA03-1175


Filed: 6 April 2004


         v.                        Halifax County
                                No. 01 CRS 1916

    Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 1 May 2003 by Judge Dwight L. Cranford in Halifax County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 22 March 2004.

    Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General Tammera S. Hill, for the State.

    Brannon Strickland, PLLC, by Anthony M. Brannon for defendant- appellant.

    MARTIN, Chief Judge.

    In August of 2001, defendant Antonio Ludrett Johnson pled no contest to driving while license revoked and discharge of a weapon into occupied property. The trial court sentenced defendant to imprisonment for a minimum term of twenty-nine months and a maximum term of forty-four months, suspended the sentence, and placed defendant on three years supervised probation. As a condition of his probation, defendant was ordered to serve sixty days active imprisonment; pay $575 in court cost fees; pay monthly probation supervision fees; attend scheduled appointments with his probation officer; and remain in the jurisdiction of the court unless granted permission to leave by the court or probation officer.     Defendant's probation officer filed a probation violation report with the trial court on 3 April 2002 alleging defendant violated his probation by failing to make required monetary payments and by failing to attend meetings with his probation officer. In an addendum filed in August of 2002, defendant's probation officer also alleged defendant left his place of residence without first receiving permission from his probation officer. Judge Dwight L. Cranford held a probation violation hearing on 1 May 2003. Defendant, through his counsel, admitted the violations, but maintained that his violations were not wilful. Defendant's probation officer testified that defendant was $140 in arrears in probation supervision fees and $350 in arrears in court fees. She also testified that defendant had not reported as directed on 24 and 28 January 2002. Defendant's probation officer informed the court that she traveled to Virginia and brought defendant back to Halifax County to face his violations.
     Defendant testified that he had been living in Virginia when he was arrested on the present charges and that he had asked to have his probation transferred, but was told his probationary sentence could not be transferred. Defendant testified that he could not find a job in Enfield, North Carolina, so he went back to Virginia to work with his cousin in the carpentry business. Defendant also stated that he went to Virginia to care for his three-year-old daughter and help his fiancé. He admitted not paying any money toward his court fees or his supervision fees. Defendant further admitted having been served with his firstviolation report before going back to Virginia. After hearing all the evidence and arguments from counsel, the trial court found defendant had willfully and without lawful excuse violated the terms and conditions of his probation.
    In its judgment and commitment upon revocation of probation entered 1 May 2003, the trial court found that “by the evidence presented, the Court is reasonably satisfied in its discretion that the defendant violated each of the conditions of the defendant's probation” and “the defendant violated each condition willfully and without valid excuse[.]” The court also found that each violation was in and of itself a sufficient basis upon which to revoke defendant's probation. Accordingly, the trial court activated defendant's original sentence. Defendant appeals.
    Defendant contends the trial court erred in revoking his probation. Defendant argues that there was insufficient evidence that he willfully and without lawful excuse violated the conditions of his probation. We disagree.
    This Court has stated:
        Any violation of a valid condition of probation is sufficient to revoke defendant's probation. All that is required to revoke probation is evidence satisfying the trial court in its discretion that the defendant violated a valid condition of probation without lawful excuse. The burden is on defendant to present competent evidence of his inability to comply with the conditions of probation; and that otherwise, evidence of defendant's failure to comply may justify a finding that defendant's failure to comply was wilful or without lawful excuse.

State v. Tozzi, 84 N.C. App. 517, 521, 353 S.E.2d 250, 253(1987)(citations omitted).
    We conclude the State presented sufficient evidence to show that defendant willfully violated the conditions of his probation without lawful excuse. Here, defendant admitted that his court costs and probationary fees were in arrears, but offered no lawful excuse, stating that he fell behind in his monetary obligations because he could not find a job in Enfield. Defendant, however, testified that he “had a job in Virginia” working for his cousin. Despite his job in Virginia, defendant made no effort to satisfy his monetary obligations. Moreover, defendant admitted violating the condition of his probation that he attend regularly scheduled meetings with his probation officer. The only testimony regarding the missed meetings was from defendant's probation officer, who testified that defendant stated to her that he missed the 28 January 2002 appointment because “he did not have a ride.” Defendant's admission that he missed the appointment, without offering any evidence to justify the absence, was sufficient within itself to sustain the trial court's finding that his failure to comply was without lawful excuse. See State v. Alston, 139 N.C. App. 787, 794-95, 534 S.E.2d 666, 671 (2000). Accordingly, we conclude it was within the trial court's discretion to revoke defendant's probation.
    Judges MCGEE and BRYANT concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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