An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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 Procedure.

NO. COA04-1340


Filed: 6 September 2005


         v.                        Wake County
                                Nos. 02 CRS 28979, 42138,
LAWRENCE POWELL,                        69526

    Appeal by defendant from a judgment dated 1 March 2004 by Judge Orlando F. Hudson in Superior Court, Wake County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 17 August 2005.

    Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Special Deputy Attorney General Ted R. Williams, for the State.

    Brian Michael Aus for defendant-appellant.

    BRYANT, Judge.

    Lawrence Powell, (defendant) entered into an Alford plea on 1 March 2004, pleading guilty to possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine, failure to appear on a felony, and admitting his status as an habitual felon. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the charges were consolidated for judgment, the State stipulated that defendant had “accepted responsibility and has a support system in the community,” and defendant was to be sentenced to a term of 80 to 105 months imprisonment. At the plea hearing, the trial court accepted defendant's plea, found that he had twelve prior record level points, and sentenced him as a Class C, Level IV felon to a term of 80 to 105 months imprisonment. Defendant appeals.    Defendant argues that the trial court erred in sentencing him as a prior record level IV. Defendant contends that several convictions from other states were improperly counted.
    N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1340.14 provides that “[t]he State bears the burden of proving, by the preponderance of the evidence, that a prior conviction exists and that the offender before the court is the same person as the offender named in the prior conviction.” N.C.G.S. § 15A-1340.14(f) (2003). A defendant's prior convictions may be proven by any of the following methods:
        (1) Stipulation of the parties.

        (2) An original or copy of the court record of the prior conviction.

        (3) A copy of records maintained by the Division of Criminal Information, the Division of Motor Vehicles, or of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

        (4) Any other method found by the court to be reliable.

Id. See also State v. Riley, 159 N.C. App. 546, 556, 583 S.E.2d 379, 386 (2003).
    In the instant case, the following colloquy occurred at the plea hearing:
        [THE STATE]: He is a record level IV for purposes of sentencing, and I don't believe there's any dispute as to that. Is that correct, Ms. Godwin?

        [DEFENDANT'S COUNSEL]: We'll stipulate that he is a Level IV, Your Honor, for sentencing purposes.

Thus, based on counsel's clear stipulation that defendant was a Level IV felon, defendant's prior record level was sufficientlyproven. Accordingly, we affirm.
    Judges McCULLOUGH and TYSON concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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