Signing a Stipulation With Regard to Out-Of-State Convictions

In State v. Palmateer, 179 N.C. App. 579, 634 S.E.2d 592 (2006), the defendant signed a stipulation with regard to the existence and classification of out-of-state convictions. Id. at 581, 634 S.E.2d at 593. The Court found, "'the question of whether a conviction under an out-of-state statute is substantially similar to an offense under North Carolina statutes is a question of law to be resolved by the trial court.'" Id. (quoting State v. Hanton, 175 N.C. App. 250, 255, 623 S.E.2d 600, 604 (2006)). According to State v. Prevette, 39 N.C. App. 470, 472, 250 S.E.2d 682, 683 (1979) "stipulations as to questions of law are generally held invalid and ineffective, and not binding upon the courts, either trial or appellate." Accordingly, the Palmeteer Court concluded, "the stipulation in the worksheet regarding Defendant's out-of-state convictions was ineffective," and remanded the case for resentencing. Palmateer, 179 N.C. App. at 582, 634 S.E.2d at 594.