APPEAL FROM THE ELKHART COUNTY COURT, Goshen Division, The Honorable Olga H. Stickel, Judge, Cause No. G-C-85-1172
Hoffman, J., Garrard, P.j., concurs, except as to footnote 3 to which he Dissents. Staton, J., Dissents with opinion.
Defendant-appellant George Hunter appeals a jury's verdict convicting him of driving with a suspended license, a Class D felony. As a result of his conviction the trial court sentenced Hunter to a two-year term of imprisonment, and his driver's license was suspended for life.
On appeal Hunter presents a single issue for review: whether the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's verdict that he was driving while his license was suspended in violation of IND. CODE § 9-12-3-1 (1984 Supp.).
The evidence relevant to this appeal discloses that Hunter attended an administrative hearing by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles on April 2, 1985. The hearing officer placed Hunter on a one-year period of probation ending April 2, 1986. Twenty days later after examining its records, the Bureau suspended Hunter's license although no new violations occurred. On October 10, 1985 Hunter was stopped for disregarding a stop sign. A computer check revealed that Hunter's license was suspended and that he was an habitual traffic offender.
At Hunter's trial, the officer could testify only as to the fact that he stopped Hunter for the traffic violation and the results of the computer check of Hunter's driving record. As its only other evidence, the State offered and the court admitted into evidence, a certified copy of Hunter's driving record from the Bureau. Attached to that record was a letter dated May 1, 1985 addressed to Hunter stating that his driver's license had been suspended. The State offered no testimony or other showing that the letter had been mailed to Hunter.[Footnote 1] Hunter denied receiving the letter.
IND. CODE § 9-12-2-1 (1984 Supp.) provides:
"(a) Whenever it appears from the records maintained in the bureau that a person's driving record brings him within the definition of an habitual violator under IC 9-12-1-4, the commissioner shall mail a notice to the person's last known address that informs the person that his driving privileges will be suspended in thirty (30) days because the person is an habitual violator according to the records of the bureau.
(b) Thirty (30) days after the commissioner has mailed a notice under this section, he shall suspend the person's driving privileges for:
(1) ten (10) years if the person is an habitual violator under IC 9-12-1-4(b);
(2) ten (10) years if the person is an habitual violator under IC 9-12-1-4(c); or
(3) five (5) years if the person is an habitual violator under IC 9-12-1-4(d).
(c) The notice must inform the person that he may be entitled to relief under section 2 of this chapter or may seek judicial review of his suspension ...