The Supreme Court issued a new decision this week in the case of State v. Bobbie Jo Nadine Ririe. Essentially, Defendant was charged with traffic charges in a Justice Court. Before the DUI was filed, Defendant went in and paid the fine on the traffic citations in the Justice Court. The DUI was then filed as a Felony in the District Court. Defendant’s attorneys argued the principle of “preclusion.” They argued that because the traffic infractions and the DUI happened in the same single criminal episode, that paying the traffic citation and essentially pleading guilty to those charges, jeopardy attached and the government was prevented from filing the DUI in District Court.
The Supreme Court held that because the citations were not filed with a formal information and that not prosecutor was involved on the citations, the State was not precluded from filing the DUI and jeopardy did not attach.
The holding paragraph reads: “Based on these two features of the single criminal episode statute—the requirement of a “prosecuting attorney” and the use of an “information or indictment”—we affirm the district court’s denial of Ririe’s motion to dismiss. We construe those terms as limiting conditions and decline to extend the statute’s principle of claim preclusion beyond its text.”
Lesson learned: When in this situation, always request a formal information be filed in the case and that you enter your guilty plea in open court with the prosecutor present.