Proof of a Prior Prison Term Enhancements

In People v. Epperson (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 856, the court concluded that the defendant's admission of his prior convictions, which did not include an explicit admission of the separate prison term requirement, could not be construed "as including admissions of all the necessary elements of the enhancements alleged under Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (b)." (168 Cal.App.3d at pp. 864-865.) In People v. Lopez (1985) 163 Cal.App.3d 946, the court stated: "The record does not indicate that the amendment to the felony complaint was read to defendant, that he waived a reading thereof, or that he was ever advised that by admitting the validity of the prior convictions he would also be admitting that he served separate prison terms therefor. Thus, his admission that the prior convictions were valid cannot be construed as an admission of the allegations that he served prior, separate prison terms for each of those convictions." (163 Cal.App.3d at p. 951.) To the extent Epperson or Lopez may be understood to require per se reversal of a prior prison term enhancement under Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (b) where the defendant's admission of a prior conviction does not include his or her express admission of the separate prison term element, we decline to follow them. Rather, we are persuaded that whether a defendant has admitted to having served the requisite separate prison term turns on the totality of the circumstances. (See People v. Mosby (2004) 33 Cal.4th 353, 356.)