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State v. Turudic

Court of Appeals of Oregon

June 14, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
ANDRAIA LUISA TURUDIC, Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted December 4, 2015

         Yamhill County Circuit Court 14VI30797; Ronald W. Stone, Judge.

          Andraia L. Turudic fled the brief pro se.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Paul L. Smith, Deputy Solicitor General, and Keith L. Kutler, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Hadlock, Chief Judge, and Egan, Judge.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged, ORS 811.700(1)(a), which was prosecuted as a violation. She assigns error to the trial court's denial of her motion to dismiss the charge for insuffcient evidence. She also assigns error to the trial court's denial of her request to rescind, pending appeal, the suspension of her driving privileges resulting from her conviction. Held: The trial court did not err. A rational trier of fact could have found that defendant violated ORS 811.700(1)(a) when she failed to give to the other driver the required identifying information before leaving the scene of the accident. Furthermore, defendant's second assignment of error is moot because the suspension of defendant's driving privileges has ended and a decision on the issue would have no practical effect on her rights.

         [286 Or.App. 185] EGAN, J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for one count of failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged, ORS 8ll.7OO(1)(a), [1] a misdemeanor that the district attorney chose to pursue as a violation.[2] In her first assignment of error, defendant contends that the trial court erred by denying her motion to dismiss the charge as a matter of law because there was insufficient evidence that she failed to perform the duties of a driver. In her second assignment of error, defendant challenges the trial court's decision to deny her request to rescind the suspension of her driver's license pending this appeal. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         When we review a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence following a conviction of a violation, we examine the evidence "in the light most favorable to the state to determine whether any rational trier of fact could have found that the essential elements of the violation had been proved by a preponderance of the evidence."[3] State v. Bainbridge, 230 Or.App. 500, 502, 216 P.3d 338 (2009) (internal quotation marks, brackets, and citation omitted).

         The material facts are not in dispute. A vehicle driven by defendant collided with a vehicle driven by defendant's friend in a parking lot. At the time of the accident, the two drivers were friends and high school classmates. The [286 Or.App. 186] two drivers and their boyfriends had visited a restaurant together and were in the process of leaving the parking lot when they collided. The occupants of the cars stopped and assessed the damage caused by the collision and found that the collision had damaged the front bumper of defendant's friend's car. The two drivers did not exchange any identifying information at the scene of the accident, and they left the scene to go to the same next destination. The friend's mother contacted defendant the following day via text message and asked defendant for her parents' phone number and for the vehicle's insurance information. After defendant refused to comply, the friend's mother first threatened to call the police and then did so. Two days later, at 10:00 a.m., a police officer contacted defendant at her high school. The officer "informed [defendant] of her legal obligation to provide certain information to the owner of damaged property in a traffic crash. I told her I had [her friend's] information, but still needed hers. I told her I was there to facilitate the exchange of that information." Again, defendant refused to provide "the information, " and the officer arrested defendant for failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged, ORS 8ll.7OO(1)(a).

         ORS 811.700 is a Class A misdemeanor, but the prosecutor elected to pursue the charge against defendant as a Class A violation. Defendant was found guilty of the violation after a trial in municipal court and she sought de novo review in the circuit court. After denying defendant's motion for dismissal as a matter of law for lack of evidence, the circuit court found defendant guilty. As a result of her conviction, defendant was fined $435 by the trial court and her driving privileges were suspended for 90 days by the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division (DMV) of the Department of Transportation. The suspension began December 27, 2014. Defendant appealed. Defendant then requested that the circuit court rescind the suspension pending this appeal. The circuit court declined.

         On appeal, defendant reasserts her argument that she made to both trial courts below that the evidence was not sufficient to find her guilty of a violation under ORS 8ll.7OO(1)(a). Defendant also asserts that the trial court [286 Or.App. 187] erred by not granting her request to rescind the driver's privilege suspension pending this appeal.

         We first address defendant's second assignment of error that the circuit court abused its discretion by denying defendant's request to rescind the suspension of her driver's privileges pending this appeal, as authorized by ORS 809.460.[4] The state contends that, because defendant's driving privileges were suspended for 90 days beginning December 27, 2014, and the suspension has now ended, the issue of whether the circuit court abused its discretion is moot. We agree.

         An issue on appeal is moot if a reviewing court's decision will have no practical effect on the rights of the parties. Brumnett v. PSRB,315 Or. 402, 405-06, 848 P.2d 1194 (1993). In this case, after her driver's privileges had been suspended for about two months, defendant requested the trial court to rescind the remainder of her suspension pending the outcome of this appeal. Defendant's driver's privileges would have been restored in March 2015. Defendant makes no argument that the circuit court's denial of her ...


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