Commonwealth v. Coles, PICS Case No. 14-0044 (C.P. Lycoming Dec. 23, 2013) Lovecchio, J. (6 pages).


The Legal Intelligencer


Sentencing Guidelines • Post-Conviction Relief Act • DUI

Commonwealth v. Coles, PICS Case No. 14-0044 (C.P. Lycoming Dec. 23, 2013) Lovecchio, J. (6 pages).

Coles was charged in three cases with theft of property lost or mislaid and conspiracy to commit theft, driving under the influence (DUI) - incapable of driving safely, DUI - highest rate of alcohol, accident involving damage to attended vehicle or property and numerous summary traffic offenses. Coles had a prior DUI charge in 2007; the current DUI charges were classified as second offenses for grading and penalty purposes. 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3806(b). On March 2, 2012, Coles pled guilty to two counts of misdemeanor theft, two counts of misdemeanor driving under the influence, misdemeanor accident involving damage and numerous traffic offenses.

The parties entered into a plea agreement as it related to the theft and conspiracy counts with a 60-day recommended sentence to run concurrent to the sentences received on the other charges. On June 19, 2012 the court sentenced Coles on all counts to an aggregate term of incarceration for a minimum of seven years and a maximum of 14 years to be followed by probation.

Coles filed a Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition arguing he was sentenced outside the guidelines because he disputed the court's calculation of his prior record score.

The issue on appeal was whether the court erred in imposing maximum terms of incarceration of three years along with an additional period of two years' supervision on his DUI convictions as 75 Pa.C.S.A. §303(a)(1) only provided a maximum sentence of not more than six months. The court rejected Coles' contention with the sentence imposed on the 1763-2011 case, but agreed an illegal sentence was issued on the 911-2011 case. Because Coles was convicted on DUI - with the highest rate of alcohol in the 1763-2011 matter, the six month sentence pursuant to 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3803(a) was inapplicable and the sentence imposed was proper. However, under 911-2011, Coles was convicted of a DUI - incapable of safely driving violation, which mandated a 90-day to six-month sentence. Therefore, the court opined the sentence for one count was proper, and for the second count improper.