Circuit Court LC No. 14-006595-FH
Before: Ronayne Krause, P.J., and O'Connell and Gleicher,
convicted Monica Stevens of third-offense operating while
intoxicated, MCL 257.625. The trial court departed upward
from the guidelines and sentenced Stevens to 22 to 90
months' imprisonment. The court also ordered defendant to
pay a total of $1, 472, including $774 in court costs. We now
remand for proportionality review as required by People v
Steanhouse, 313 Mich.App. 1, 46-49; 880 N.W.2d 297
(2015), and for the trial court to articulate a factual basis
for its imposition of costs.
evening of September 20, 2014, a passerby found Stevens
behind the driver's seat of her vehicle, which was in a
ditch alongside a roadway. Stevens admitted that she had been
drinking for approximately nine hours. The Good Samaritan
testified that Stevens smelled strongly of alcohol, was
slurring her speech, and stumbled her way out of the vehicle.
A responding officer reported that Stevens failed several
field sobriety tests, and a breathalyzer test indicated that
her blood alcohol level was .25. Stevens denied that she
drove that evening. She testified that she fell asleep at her
ex-husband's house and awoke in her car with no memory of
how she got there. She claimed that her ex-husband drove her
to the scene and then placed her in the driver's seat.
The jury rejected this explanation and convicted Stevens as
sentencing, the Department of Corrections scored all
applicable offense and prior record variables and determined
that Stevens' then-mandatory minimum sentencing
guidelines range was 0 to 13 months. The trial court departed
upward from the guidelines, sentencing Stevens to 22 to 90
months' imprisonment. In doing so, the court explained:
Miss Stevens, I spent a lot of time on your case, and the
Court staff will tell you that I took great care into
fashioning a Sentence for you that I think is appropriate,
and I don't think zero to 13 adequately handles this
matter. I think that your matter presents substantial and
compelling reasons to depart upwards from the recommended
guideline range. Your prior record variables are scored at 15
points based on two prior misdemeanor convictions and two
prior low severity convictions. The guidelines in your case .
. . don't adequately account for the following factors
that the Court relies on in performing an upward departure.
You've had two previous convictions of OUIL Third. This
is your third, third. You've had extensive histories of
alcohol related crimes, Miss Stevens. You've had a total
of five OUILs, with a sixth that was dismissed in September
of the year 2000. As I already mentioned, your blood alcohol
level was [.]29. The legal limit in the State of Michigan
is [.]08, you were over three times the legal limit.
What's important is that this is your third felony for
drunk driving, that's what's important.
Your previous and persistent failure to rehabilitate is
important. Five previous courses of substance abuse
counseling, four of which says you completed and were
successful, yet you returned to drinking. Your prospects for
rehabilitation are further lowered based on the fact that
you've undergone community service for OUIL, work
release, tether, and jail time. These previous sanctions
along with the treatment that we've already talked about,
has little positive effect on you, Miss Stevens.
You admit no responsibility in your description of this
offense. In fact, you've argued that you're framed.
I'm not basing your Sentence on this, not at all. I'm
just pointing it out so this record reflects that, well, it
further supports that rehabilitation is not a likely outcome.
You're unlikely to rehabilitate, because you don't
believe that you've done anything wrong. That suggests
the need to emphasize punishment, and to protect society as
primary goals for this Sentence.
And Miss Stevens, any one of these factors that this court
just placed on the record would keenly and irresistibly grab
this Court's attention to the extent that the Court would
be compelled to depart upward.
The Sentence I'm imposing is more proportional to this
offense, because it accurately reflects the aggravating
factors I've already discussed, and the need to impose a