Submitted: June 13, 2017
Rice, deputy attorney general (Sean P. Gill, assistant
attorney general, on the memorandum of law), for the State.
Barnard, senior assistant appellate defender, of Concord, on
the brief, for the defendant.
defendant, Travis C. Paige, appeals a ruling of the Superior
Court (Bornstein, J.) concluding that his reckless
conduct convictions were class A misdemeanors and sentencing
him accordingly. See RSA 631:3 (2016); RSA 625:9,
IV(c) (2016). We affirm.
pertinent facts are as follows. On September 3, 2015, the
defendant led police on a high-speed vehicle chase in Grafton
County between Bethlehem and Bath. Throughout the chase, the
defendant drove at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour to
evade police. The defendant also disregarded stop signs and
nearly struck a cyclist and a minivan. Eventually, the
defendant lost control of the vehicle after passing through a
covered bridge and crashed into a ditch. The vehicle came to
rest on the passenger side. Leaving his girlfriend in the
passenger seat of the vehicle, the defendant climbed out of
the driver's side window and fled on foot into the woods.
The police officer on scene chose not to pursue the
defendant, opting instead to help the defendant's
girlfriend get out of the car, which was smoking. The
defendant was arrested the next morning.
November, the defendant was indicted on three counts of
felony reckless conduct with a deadly weapon. Ordinarily,
reckless conduct is an unspecified misdemeanor. See
RSA 631:3. However, it becomes a class B felony when a deadly
weapon is used in the commission of the offense. See
id.; RSA 625:11, V (2016). The defendant also was
charged by informations with two misdemeanor offenses, one
alleging that he disobeyed a police officer, and the other
alleging that he resisted arrest. See RSA 265:4
(2014); RSA 642:2 (2016). In accordance with RSA 625:9,
IV(c)(2), the State filed notice at or before the
defendant's arraignment that it was electing to prosecute
both misdemeanor offenses as class A misdemeanors.
defendant was tried by jury in April 2016. In its jury
instructions, the trial court instructed the jury on the
elements of felony reckless conduct and, over the State's
objection, on the elements of the lesser-included misdemeanor
reckless conduct offense. The jury acquitted the defendant of
all three felony reckless conduct charges, but convicted him
of three counts of misdemeanor reckless conduct. The jury
also convicted the defendant of resisting arrest and
disobeying an officer.
sentencing, the trial court ruled that the lesser-included
reckless conduct offenses carried class A misdemeanor
penalties. For the charges of resisting arrest and disobeying
an officer, the court sentenced the defendant to consecutive
twelve-month terms of incarceration. For each of the
misdemeanor reckless conduct convictions, it imposed
suspended twelve-month sentences that were concurrent with
each other but consecutive to the stand committed sentences.
This appeal followed.
appeal, the defendant argues that, pursuant to RSA 625:9,
IV(c), his misdemeanor reckless conduct convictions
constituted class B misdemeanors and that the court erred in
sentencing him on those charges as though they were class A
misdemeanor offenses. Specifically, he contends that both the
text and the legislative history of RSA 625:9, IV(c) indicate
that the statute applies to ...