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OWI – Proof of Priors – Certified DOT Driving Transcript

State v. Kevin J. Van Riper, 2003 WI App 237
For Van Riper: Anthony L. O’Malley

Issue/Holding:

¶13. Thus, the cumulative effect of Wideman and Spaeth is as follows: (1) the proof requirements of Wis. Stat. § 973.12(1), the repeater statute in the criminal code, do not apply in OWI prosecutions (Wideman); and (2) a DOT teletype is competent proof of a defendant’s prior convictions (Spaeth)

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¶16. If, pursuant to Spaeth, a teletype of a defendant’s DOT driving record is admissible and sufficient evidence of prior offenses for purposes of penalty enhancement in a sentencing proceeding, then certainly a certified DOT driving record is admissible and sufficient to prove the status of an alleged repeat offender in a PAC prosecution.

¶18. Here, a certificate bearing the State of Wisconsin DOT seal and the signature of the DMV administrator accompanies Van Riper’s DOT driving record. Both Wisconsin case law and statutes support the admission of this certified document as proof of Van Riper’s prior convictions at trial.

¶19. That one of Van Riper’s convictions occurred in Minnesota does not change our decision….

¶20. The certified DOT transcript recites that Van Riper was convicted of “operating under influence” in Minnesota with a violation date of “11/21/89.” Wisconsin’s drunk driving statute, Wis. Stat. § 346.63, is entitled “Operating under influence of intoxicant or other drug.” A subset of this statute, and one means of violating this statute, is operating a motor vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration. Sec. 346.63(1)(b). From this information, the trial court could reasonably conclude that the Minnesota laws governing drunk driving were substantially similar to Wisconsin’s OWI laws.

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