State v. Williams, ___ N.C. App. ___, 786 S.E.2d 419 (Jun. 21, 2016)

Where the trial court enhanced a DWI sentence based solely on the defendant’s prior convictions, the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights were not violated. At sentencing, the trial court found the existence of two grossly aggravating factors, i.e., that defendant had two or more convictions involving impaired driving within seven years before the date of the offense. (1) The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the State violated the notice provision for aggravating factors in G.S. 20-179(a1)(1), holding that provision only applied to cases appealed to superior court (the case in question was initiated in superior court by indictment). (2) The court also rejected the defendant’s argument that the State’s failure to comply with the statutory notice provision violated his constitutional rights under Blakely (any factor other than prior conviction that elevates the sentence beyond the statutory maximum must be submitted to the jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt).The court reasoned that because the defendant’s sentence was aggravated only because of prior convictions, Blakely did not apply.