What Are the Requirements to Establish the Crime of Felony DUI ?
In State v. Woodruff, 676 So. 2d 975, 977-78 (Fla. 1996), the court held that in order to establish the crime of felony DUI there be:
(1) a conviction of the current misdemeanor DUI;
(2) proof of an additional element of the existence of three or more prior misdemeanor DUI convictions. 316.192(2)(b), Fla. Stat.
Given, therefore, that every element of felony DUI must be proven to the satisfaction of the jury beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury, unless waived by the defendant, must decide the issue regarding the three prior convictions. See Gaudin, 515 U.S. at 523-24 (Rehnquist, C.J., concurring).
It follows then that felony DUI trials must be conducted before the jury in two stages because the concern remains about tainting the consideration of the current misdemeanor DUI with evidence concerning the past DUI.
The court recognize that Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.430 provides that "after the jurors have retired to consider their verdict the court shall not recall the jurors to hear additional evidence."
This rule does not apply to this bifurcated process, which contemplates two separate verdicts by the same jury.