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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Mar 7, 2013

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

John B. Curtis, Germantown, Tennessee, (on appeal), and David Willis, Memphis, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Christopher Bomar Wenzler.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Matt Hooper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WOODALL

Defendant, Christopher Bomar Wenzler, was indicted by the Fayette County Grand Jury for driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI) in Count 1, and for DUI, third offense, in Count 2. Defendant pled guilty to DUI as charged in Count 1, and waived a jury trial and submitted to a bench trial as to the issues in Count 2. Count 2 alleged two prior DUI convictions: (i) in the Justice Court of DeSoto County, Mississippi on June 7, 2006, and (ii) in the General Sessions Court of Shelby County on February 9, 2006. Defendant argued in the trial court that the Mississippi conviction could not be lawfully used to enhance his current offense to DUI, third offense, but the trial court found Defendant guilty as charged. The trial court merged the conviction in Count 1 with the conviction in Count 2, and sentenced Defendant to serve 11 months and 29 days, with all but 120 days suspended as a third offense DUI offender. Defendant appeals, arguing that he should have been sentenced for DUI, second offense, because the judgment form used to prove Defendant’s prior conviction in DeSoto County, Mississippi is silent as to whether he was represented by counsel or waived his right to counsel. After review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.