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OWI — Second or Subsequent Offense, Prior Conviction – Foreign Case Resulting in “Court Supervision”

State v. Arthur C. List, 2004 WI App 230, PFR filed 12/22/04
For List: Joseph L. Polito

Issue: Whether an Illinois OWI charge resulting in court supervision is a “conviction” within the meaning of § 343.307(1)(d).

Holding:

¶5. List contends that under Wis. Stat. § 343.307(1)(d) only OWI offenses that result in formal conviction as defined by the laws of a foreign state count for the purpose of charging a Wisconsin OWI suspect. He asserts that court supervision is not a conviction under Illinois law.

……

¶7. We conclude that the pertinent language of Wis. Stat. § 343.307(1)(d) is unambiguous …. We read “under the law of another jurisdiction” not as delimiting “convictions,” but rather as introducing and pertaining to “that prohibits” and the remainder of the paragraph.

¶9. List’s approach would require us to interpret the law of another state whenever an OWI defendant has received a penalty less than a judgment of conviction for a previous offense. ….

¶10. We turn instead to Wisconsin law to determine whether a disposition of court supervision in Illinois is a “conviction” for the purposes of arriving at the correct OWI charge. The traffic code defines “conviction” as

an unvacated adjudication of guilt, or a determination that a person has violated or failed to comply with the law in a court of original jurisdiction or an authorized administrative tribunal, an unvacated forfeiture of property deposited to secure the person’s appearance in court, the payment of a fine or court cost, or violation of a condition of release without the deposit of property, regardless of whether or not the penalty is rebated, suspended, or probated, in this state or any other jurisdiction.

Wis. Stat. § 340.01(9r). In List’s case, his placement under court supervision was a result of a determination that he “violated or failed to comply with the law in a court of original jurisdiction.” Id. The Illinois sentence was therefore a conviction as defined by Wisconsin law, and counts toward the determination of the severity of his penalty.

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