Appeal from Judgment of Sentence June 1, 1987, in the Court of Common Pleas of Potter County, Criminal No. 26 of 1987.
George Stenhach, Coudersport, for appellant.
Martha J. Duvall, Assistant District Attorney, Coudersport, for Com., appellee.
Olszewski, Tamilia and Kelly, JJ.
[ 372 Pa. Super. Page 31]
This is an appeal from a judgment of sentence imposed after appellant pleaded guilty to driving under the influence (DUI). Appellant claims that the trial court erred in determining that the Commonwealth proved by a preponderance
[ 372 Pa. Super. Page 32]
of the evidence that appellant had a prior DUI conviction in New York equivalent to the Pennsylvania charge of DUI. We agree and remand for a hearing consistent with this opinion.
On January 9, 1987, as a result of a one-car accident that occurred on January 6, 1987, appellant was charged with driving under the influence, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3731(a)(1), (4), and reckless driving, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3714. On April 3, 1987, appellant entered a plea of guilty to the DUI charge. After considering a pre-sentence report that indicated a prior DUI conviction in New York, the trial court sentenced appellant to thirty days to one year imprisonment. A motion to reconsider sentence was subsequently denied and this appeal followed.
Appellant claims that the Commonwealth did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that appellant had a prior DUI conviction in New York equivalent to the charge of DUI in Pennsylvania such that appellant could be sentenced as a second-time offender. It is well settled that a defendant who is convicted of DUI for a second time must be sentenced to not less than thirty days. 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3731(e)(1)(ii); Commonwealth v. Hess, 348 Pa. Super. 600, 502 A.2d 707 (1985). The Vehicle Code specifies, however, that the individual must have been previously convicted of an offense under Section 3731 or of an equivalent offense in another jurisdiction within the previous seven years. 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3731(e)(1)(ii).
[ 372 Pa. Super. Page 33]
In determining how the Commonwealth may satisfactorily establish an "equivalent offense in another jurisdiction," we note, preliminarily, that penal statutes are to be strictly construed in favor of the defendant. 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1928(b)(1). In addition, we acknowledge that statutes which relate to the same class of persons or things shall be construed together, if possible, as one statute. Commonwealth v. Kearns, 365 Pa. Super. 13, 528 A.2d 992 (1987), citing 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1932(a), (b); Pennsylvania Social Service Page 33} v. Pennsylvania, 481 Pa. 81, 392 A.2d 256 (1978). Therefore, since we may examine other recidivist statutes in pari materia, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9714 guides us in our analysis of the procedure for proving a prior, equivalent DUI conviction. Kearns, supra, 365 Pa. Superior Ct. at 19, 528 A.2d at 995.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9714(c) requires that the trial court, prior to imposing sentence, must have a complete record of the previous convictions and must furnish a copy of the record to the defendant. 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9714(c). If the defendant contests the accuracy of the record, the court must schedule a hearing and direct the defendant and the Commonwealth to submit evidence regarding the previous convictions of the defendant. Id. Finally, the trial court must, based on the foregoing, determine by a preponderance of the ...