State v. Cole, ___ N.C. App. ___, 822 S.E.2d 456 (Nov. 20, 2018)

The trial court did not err by sentencing the defendant as a Level Two offender after finding the existence of a grossly aggravating factor based on upon his prior DWI conviction. The defendant was convicted in superior court of DWI on 15 September 2016. He appealed that conviction on 26 September 2016, which remained pending at the time of the instant 31 August 2017 sentencing hearing. The defendant argued that his prior DWI conviction could not be used to enhance his sentence because the prior conviction was pending on appeal and thus not final. The court disagreed, finding no statutory language limiting convictions that can be used as grossly aggravating factors to only those not challenged on appeal. The court noted however that if the earlier DWI conviction is later overturned, the defendant would be entitled to be resentenced.