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People v. Carlson


Defendant, Mark Gus Carlson, appeals the judgment of conviction entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of aggravated driving after revocation prohibited (DARP) and driving under the influence (DUI). We affirm the conviction for aggravated DARP, vacate the conviction for DUI, and remand for correction of the mittimus. Defendant was charged with aggravated DARP and DUI under §§ 42-2- 206(1)(b)(I)(A) and 42-4-1301(1)(a), C.R.S.2003. Before trial, defendant filed a motion for separate trials of the charges, which the trial court denied. A jury convicted defendant of both counts; however, the court determined that the convictions on the two counts should merge for sentencing purposes. The court sentenced defendant to eighteen months in the custody of the Department of Corrections on the aggravated DARP charge. However, the mittimus also reflects a conviction on the DUI count. I. Defendant first contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion for separate trials of the charges against him. Specifically, he argues that the DUI charge should have been tried before the DARP charge to prevent the jury from convicting him of the DUI charge based on improper consideration of the evidence that he had been designated a habitual traffic offender. We decline to consider the merits of defendant's contention. A motion for severance of counts is generally addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, and its decision will be reversed only upon a showing of abuse of discretion. To obtain appellate review of a trial court's denial of a motion for severance, however, the defendant must renew the motion during the trial, or he or she will be deemed to have waived any objection. People v. Aalbu, 696 P.2d 796, 806 (Colo.1985)(citing People v. Peterson, 656 P.2d 1301 (Colo.1983)); cf. People v. Gross, 39 P.3d 1279 (Colo.App.2001)(addressing denial of defendant's pretrial motion to sever where prosecution had moved to consolidate indictments, reasoning that defendant had not been the moving party and did not have the burden of proof). Here, defendant filed his pretrial motion pursuant to Crim. P. 14, but did not renew it during the trial. Accordingly, he waived his right to challenge the trial court's denial of his motion. Defendant nevertheless asserts that People v. Aalbu, supra, and the other cases finding waiver are not applicable here because he sought to bifurcate, not sever, the trial of the DUI and aggravated DARP counts. He asserts that his situation is analogous to a trial of habitual criminal charges, where bifurcation is necessary to avoid the inherent prejudice of notifying the jury of prior criminal convictions. We are not persuaded by this asserted distinction. In addition to preventing the impermissible inference that a defendant committed the crime charged because he or she had been previously convicted of other crimes, the purpose of bifurcation in habitual criminal cases is to remedy the impermissible burden that would be placed on the defendant's constitutional right to testify in his or her own defense. See People v. Chavez, 621 P.2d 1362, 1366-67 (Colo.1981). Here, defendant's request to bifurcate the charges did not implicate distinct phases of a trial, such as guilt and punishment or guilt and sanity. See Black's Law Dictionary 1510 (7th ed.1999)(defining bifurcated trial). Indeed, under § 42-2-206(1)(b)(I)(A), proof that the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol under § 42-4-1301(1)(a) is an element of the substantive felony count of aggravated DARP. Moreover, defendant's right to testify in his own defense is not implicated by trying these charges together. *2 Therefore, we decline to consider the merits of the argument. II. Defendant contends that, in keeping with the

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