This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).






State of Minnesota,





Darrell Charles DeHart,



Filed November 22, 2005

Klaphake, Judge


Nicollet County District Court

File No. T3-04-2737


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN  55101-2134; and


Ryan B. Magnus, Assistant City Attorney, City of St. Peter, 219 West Nassau Street, P.O. Box 57, St. Peter, MN  56082 (for respondent)


Jerry Strauss, Strauss & Goldberger, 250 2nd Avenue South, Suite 110, Minneapolis, MN  55401 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Stoneburner, Judge, and Wright, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            On the scheduled date of his trial for driving after revocation, appellant Darrell C. DeHart moved to suppress evidence of his driver’s license record.  He argued that the state must provide a witness to testify that his driver’s license was revoked, because the record improperly referenced his implied consent violation, which formed the basis for the prior revocation.  Because we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to exclude the evidence, we affirm.


            Appellate courts review a district court’s decision to admit evidence under an abuse of discretion standard of review.  State v. Amos, 658 N.W.2d 201, 203 (Minn. 2003).  This standard of review also applies to judicial rulings that determine whether to admit evidence of prior crimes.  State v. Ihnot, 575 N.W.2d 581, 584 (Minn. 1998).

            It is a misdemeanor for a person to operate a motor vehicle while his driver’s license is revoked.  Minn. Stat. § 171.24, subd. 2 (2004).  This offense is criminal in nature, and the state has the burden to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  See State v. Larson, 605 N.W.2d 706, 710 (Minn. 2000).            

            Appellant claims that he was denied the right to a fair trial by the district court’s admission of his driving record, which included evidence of his prior implied consent revocation.  The state offered the evidence to prove that appellant’s license was revoked at the time of the current offense and that appellant had notice of the revocation.  Generally, evidence of other crimes or wrongs is not admissible to prove the character of the accused, but it may be admissible to prove “motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.”  Minn. R. Evid. 404(b).  In determining whether to admit such evidence, the district court should focus on the specific reason for which the evidence is offered and the particular logic supporting the evidentiary inference.  See United States v. Kern, 12 F.3d 122, 124-25 (8th Cir. 1993).                 

            For at least two reasons, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting appellant’s driving record, which contained evidence of appellant’s prior implied consent revocation.  First, the evidence was not offered to impugn appellant’s character, but was necessary to prove an element of the current offense of driving after revocation.  Second, appellant’s driving record constitutes an official document that may be admitted at trial without calling witnesses.  See State v. Brown, 303 Minn. 114, 116, 226 N.W.2d 747, 748-49 (1975) (in driving-after-suspension case, permitting records from driver’s license division of Department of Public Safety to be introduced without calling custodian or other qualified witness); Minn. Stat. § 171.21 (2004) (providing that certified copy of driver’s license records “shall” be received in evidence with same effect as original).