Jonathon D. Reis, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
from the Posey Superior Court Trial Court Cause No.
65D01-1702-F5-86 The Honorable S. Brent Almon, Judge
Attorney for Appellant William W. Gooden Mt. Vernon, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Jesse R. Drum Deputy Attorney General
Summary and Issue
Following a guilty plea, Jonathon Reis was convicted of
operating a motor vehicle while privileges are forfeited for
life, a Level 5 felony, and operating a vehicle while
intoxicated endangering a person, a Class A misdemeanor. Reis
was sentenced to a term of five years for the Level 5 felony
to be executed at the Indiana Department of Correction and a
consecutive term of one year for the Class A misdemeanor to
be served in a community corrections program. He now appeals,
raising for our review the sole issue of whether his sentence
is inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of
his offense. Concluding his sentence is not inappropriate, we
and Procedural History
Early in the morning on February 19, 2017, police officers
found a white Chevrolet SUV on Highway 62 in Posey County.
The SUV was running, in drive, and facing south blocking both
westbound lanes of traffic. Officers attempted to wake the
driver, later identified as Reis, to no avail. Reis lifted
his foot off the brake and the vehicle rolled into a
guardrail. Once the vehicle came to a stop, officers unlocked
the vehicle, shut it off, and again attempted to wake Reis.
While doing so, officers observed a nearly empty bottle of
vodka on the passenger floorboard. When officers were finally
able to wake Reis, they removed him from the vehicle.
Reis's balance was "very unsteady, " he smelled
of alcoholic beverages, and he repeatedly replied,
"mother fu****" to officers' questions.
Appellant's Appendix, Volume II at 13.
Officers learned Reis's driver's license was
suspended for life as an habitual traffic offender and he was
administered a portable breath test, which revealed a blood
alcohol content ("BAC") of .21. Reis acknowledged
his license was suspended and when asked why he was an
habitual traffic offender he responded, "same
sh**." Id. At the jail, Reis refused to take
the breathalyzer but agreed to another portable breath test,
which again revealed a BAC of .21. Reis stated that he wished
he was still in the beer phase of his life but he drank
The State charged Reis with operating a motor vehicle while
privileges are forfeited for life, a Level 5 felony, and
operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person, a
Class A misdemeanor. Reis pleaded guilty as charged.
At sentencing, the trial court placed a "great deal of
weight" on the defendant's prior criminal record
which includes seventeen prior convictions. Transcript,
Volume 2 at 31. The trial court also noted Reis's
"terrible alcohol problem" and that the
circumstances of his offenses were "egregious"
before sentencing Reis to five years in the Indiana
Department of Correction and one year in a community
corrections program. Id. at 32-33. Reis now appeals
Standard of Review
We may review and revise criminal sentences pursuant to the
authority derived from Article 7, Section 6 of the Indiana
Constitution. Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B) empowers us to
revise a sentence "if, after due consideration of the
trial court's decision, the Court finds that the sentence
is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and
the character of the offender." Because a trial
court's judgment "should receive considerable
deference[, ]" our principal role is to "leaven the
outliers." Caldwell v. State, 895 N.E.2d 1219,
1222-25 (Ind. 2008). "Such deference should prevail
unless overcome by compelling evidence portraying in a
positive light the nature of the offense (such as accompanied
by restraint, regard, and lack of brutality) and the
defendant's character (such as substantial virtuous
traits or persistent examples of good character)."
Stephenson v. State, 29 N.E.3d 111, 122 (Ind. 2015).
The defendant bears the burden to persuade this court that
his or her sentence is inappropriate, Childress v.
State, 848 N.E.2d 1073, 1080 (Ind. 2006), and we may
look to any factors appearing in the record for such a
determination, Stokes v. State, 947 N.E.2d 1033,
1038 (Ind.Ct.App. 2011), trans. denied.