from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Lansing L. Haynes, District
of conviction and concurrent, unified sentences of five
years, with two years determinate, for felony fleeing or
attempting to elude a peace officer in violation of and
felony placing obstructions on railroad tracks, affirmed.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Andrea W.
Reynolds, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kenneth K. Jorgensen,
Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Watson Coniconde appeals from the district court's
judgment of conviction. Coniconde asserts the district court
erred in ordering his driver's license suspension
commence upon release from incarceration because Idaho Code
§ 49-1404(3) mandates that driver's license
suspensions for felony eluding offenses begin upon judgment
of conviction. The State argues that I.C. § 49-1404(3)
is silent as to when the period for suspension begins, but
I.C. § 49-326A requires driver's license suspensions
commence upon release from incarceration. We affirm the
district court's judgment of conviction.
Code § 49-1404(3) is silent on whether the driver's
license suspension begins to run from the date of the
judgment of conviction or the date of release from
incarceration. We conclude that the date upon which the
period of suspension begins is discretionary with the
district court. Because the district court acted within its
discretion when it ordered Coniconde's driver's
license suspension commence upon release from incarceration,
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
to an Idaho Criminal Rule 11 plea agreement, Coniconde
pleaded guilty to fleeing or attempting to elude a peace
officer in violation of I.C. § 49-1404(2) and placing
obstructions on railroad tracks in violation of I.C. §
18-6009, both felonies. The plea agreement did not include
any terms related to the length or period of commencement of
the driver's license suspension. The district court
imposed concurrent, unified sentences of five years, with two
years determinate, for each charge. The district court
suspended Coniconde's driver's license for three
years and ordered it commence upon his release from
incarceration, for the felony eluding charge.
filed a timely notice of appeal contesting the driver's
license suspension and a motion for reconsideration of
sentence, pursuant to Idaho Criminal Rule 35, asking the
district court to shorten the length of the suspension and
order it to begin upon his conviction for the eluding
offense. Pursuant to I.C.R. 35, the district court found that
Coniconde's behavior during incarceration warranted a
reduction in the duration of the driver's license
suspension from three years to eighteen months. The district
court indicated that I.C. § 49-1404 provided judicial
discretion to determine when a suspension should begin. Based
on circumstances surrounding the offenses and Coniconde's
driving history, the district court found that Coniconde
demonstrated a disregard for public safety that warranted
commencing the driver's license suspension upon
Coniconde's release from incarceration, rather than from
the judgment of conviction. The district court further stated
that to allow Coniconde to serve the driver's license
suspension while incarcerated would act neither as punishment
nor deterrence, as Coniconde cannot drive while
incarcerated. Therefore, the district court denied
Coniconde's request to modify the date for the
driver's license suspension to begin.
Court exercises free review over the application and
construction of statutes. State v. Reyes, 139 Idaho
502, 505, 80 P.3d 1103, 1106 (Ct. App. 2003). Where the
language of a statute is plain and unambiguous, this Court
must give effect to the statute as written, without engaging
in statutory construction. State v. Burnight, 132
Idaho 654, 659, 978 P.2d 214, 219 (1999); State v.
Escobar, 134 Idaho 387, 389, 3 P.3d 65, 67 (Ct. App.
2000). The language of the statute is to be given its plain,
obvious, and rational meaning. Burnight, 132 Idaho
at 659, 978 P.2d at 219. If the language is clear and
unambiguous, there is no occasion for the court to resort to
legislative history or rules of statutory interpretation.
Escobar, 134 Idaho at 389, 3 P.3d at 67. When this
Court must engage in statutory construction because an
ambiguity exists, it has the duty to ascertain the
legislative intent and give effect to that intent. State
v. Beard, 135 Idaho 641, 646, 22 P.3d 116, 121 (Ct. App.
2001). To ascertain such intent, not only must the literal
words of the statute be examined, but also the context of
those words, the public policy behind the statute ...