STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v. Gaston County
No. 01 CRS 15210
01 CRS 58516-17
01 CRS 59758
ROBIN POLSON SIMPSON
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Kathleen U. Baldwin for the State.
Michael E. Casterline for defendant-appellant.
Defendant appeals from a judgment revoking probation and
activating a sentence of 15 to 18 months imposed on convictions of
assault inflicting serious injury, assault on emergency personnel,
and assault on a government official; and from a judgment revoking
probation and activating a sentence of 6 months imposed on a
conviction of driving while impaired.
The sole issue is whether the superior court had jurisdiction to enter judgment activating the sentence for driving while impaired. Defendant argues the superior court never obtained jurisdiction over this misdemeanor offense.
The superior court has jurisdiction to try a misdemeanoroffense in five situations: (1) when the misdemeanor is a lesser offense of a felony for which the defendant is indicted or waived indictment; (2) when the charge is initiated by a presentment; (3) when the misdemeanor may be properly consolidated for trial with a felony pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-926; (4) when a plea of guilty or no contest is tendered to the misdemeanor offense in lieu of a felony charge; or (5) when a conviction of the misdemeanor is appealed to the superior court for trial de novo. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-271(a) (2005).
Of these five situations, four clearly do not apply to the case at bar. All of the offenses in this case were charged by indictments. These indictments accused defendant of committing (1) the felony of assault inflicting serious injury; (2) the misdemeanor of assault on emergency personnel; (3) the misdemeanor of assault on a government official; and (4) the misdemeanors of driving while impaired and driving left of center. Driving while impaired is not a lesser offense of a felony for which defendant was indicted. Defendant did not plead guilty to the offense in lieu of a felony offense. The charge of driving while impaired was not initiated by presentment and no appeal was taken from a conviction of the misdemeanor offense in the district court. The only remaining basis for jurisdiction is if the offense could be properly consolidated with a felony offense for trial pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-926.
This statute provides: Two or more offenses may be joined in one pleading or for trial when the offenses, whether felonies ormisdemeanors or both, are based on the same act or transaction or on a series of acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a single scheme or plan. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-926(a) (2005). Stated succinctly, there must be some transactional connection between separate offenses in order for joinder to be permitted. State v. Silva, 304 N.C. 122, 126, 282 S.E.2d 449, 452 (1981).
The various charging documents allege that defendant was involved in a motor vehicle accident at approximately 6:45 p.m. on 21 June 2001. Defendant assaulted Timothy Ward, an emergency medical technician, by kicking him and slinging blood about his face as he was attempting to provide medical treatment to a victim of the accident. Defendant also assaulted Officer W. I. Scott of the Gaston County Police Department, who was assisting an emergency medical technician with restraining defendant, by striking and scratching his arms. Defendant also assaulted and inflicted serious bodily injury upon Jennifer Lee Oates by kicking Ms. Oates in the left breast and rupturing a breast implant.
We conclude the requisite transactional connection is present in the case at bar, and therefore hold that the trial court had jurisdiction over the misdemeanor offenses. The accident resulted in the charges of the motor vehicle offenses. The accident also resulted in the intervention of the emergency medical personnel and the police. The assault charges resulted when defendant resisted the efforts of emergency medical personnel to render medical treatment. All of the charges in this case thus arose out of aseries of acts or events connected to the motor vehicle accident.
Judges McCULLOUGH and TYSON concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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