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Stevens v. State

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

January 20, 2015

KESLER STEVENS, Defendant-Below, Appellant
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff-Below, Appellee

Submitted October 31, 2014

Upon Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County.

AFFIRMED, IN PART; DISMISSED, IN PART.

James O. Turner, Esquire, Assistant Public Defender, Wilmington, Delaware, for Appellant, Kesler Stevens.

Christopher S. Marques, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, for Appellee, the State of Delaware.

OPINION

Page 1265

Paul R. Wallace, Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Appellant, Kesler Stevens, appeals a final judgment of conviction of Driving a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol (" DUI" ) entered by the Court of Common Pleas. He argues there is insufficient evidence supporting this conviction. He had argued also that there is a flaw in the offense date in the criminal Information. That flaw, he claimed, exposed him to a future potential double jeopardy violation. He now seeks reversal of the trial judge's denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal on the first ground; he has abandoned the second on appeal.

Stevens was charged with DUI and other motor vehicle offenses following a late-night March 17, 2013 traffic collision. Stevens first struck a tree, then another vehicle head-on, causing severe damage to both vehicles. Testimony at his trial established that after the accident Stevens was walking unsteadily and stumbling, was slurring his speech, had glassy eyes, and had the odor of alcohol on his breath. The evidence further showed that Stevens -- without prior request -- twice handed the responding police officer his car keys. And when police asked where he was coming from, Stevens could only respond by

Page 1266

pointing to a street and stating its name. Stevens and the other vehicle's occupants were ambulanced to the hospital. There the other driver saw Stevens doing wheelchair stunts in the facility's hallway.

The Information charging Stevens with DUI states the offense occurred " on or about March 18, 2013." Stevens argued that the events actually took place shortly before midnight on March 17, 2013, and that the Information is therefore flawed. This, he says, exposes him to the risk of double jeopardy.

For the reasons set forth below, the judgment of the Court of Common Pleas is AFFIRMED, in part, and the appeal is DISMISSED, in part.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In May 2013, the State filed an Information[1] charging Kesler Stevens with DUI, Failure to Have a Registration Card in Possession, and Failure to Remain Within a Single Lane.[2] According to the Information, the events giving rise to these charges occurred " on or about March 18, 2013" on Pulaski Highway in New Castle County, Delaware.

The record reflects that in the late evening hours of March 17, 2013, Stevens crashed into the car driven by Alfred Melchiore. Mr. Melchiore had just left his home and was driving with his daughter as a passenger. As they approached the intersection of Route 40 (Pulaski Highway) and Scotland Drive, Mr. Melchiore slowed his vehicle to approximately 5 to 10 ...


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