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Voda v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

March 27, 2018

JAN VODA, Appellant
v.
THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

          On Appeal from County Court at Law No. 2 Fort Bend County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 13-CCR-168548

          Panel consists of Justices Jamison, Busby, and Donovan.

          OPINION

          John Donovan Justice

         Appellant Jan Voda pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated, and was sentenced to twelve months' probation. From that conviction, appellant brings this appeal claiming that he was denied a speedy trial. We affirm.

         Background

         On October 5, 2012, appellant was arrested in Brazoria County, Texas, and charged with driving while intoxicated ("DWI"). At that time, appellant resided in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Appellant was released on bond. On November 8, 2012, the State dismissed that charge because "Ft. Bend County has better jurisdiction." Appellant was notified of the dismissal by his bonding company

         In April 2013, appellant moved to Miami, Florida. He submitted a change of address form notifying the post office of a Gainesville, Florida address. Additionally, appellant obtained a Florida driver's license.

         On July 1, 2013, Fort Bend County charged appellant with DWI. A summons was issued for appellant to appear in court on August 2, 2013. It was sent to appellant's address in New Jersey by regular mail, return receipt requested. Appellant did not receive the notice regarding the summons. The summons was returned to Fort Bend County and it was filed in the county clerk's file. The envelope containing the summons was returned to the county clerk, return to sender. Appellant's address in Gainesville, Florida, was stamped on the face of the envelope. When appellant failed to appear in court on August 2, 2013, an arrest warrant was issued by the trial court. No further attempts were made to serve appellant with summons.

         In September 2014, appellant learned of the pending arrest warrant and charge in Fort Bend County when a prospective employer performing a background check asked for an explanation. That same month, appellant was arrested for driving under the influence ("DUI") in Alachua County, Florida. He pled guilty to the Florida DUI in January 2015.

         On February 29, 2016, appellant retained counsel and moved to dismiss the Fort Bend County DWI case for failure to provide a speedy trial. On April 1, 2016, appellant requested a case reset. He did not assert his right to a speedy trial at this setting. On May 24, 2016, appellant set his motion to dismiss for August 12, 2016. On August 12, 2016, the hearing was reset by agreement. On August 19, 2016, the trial court denied appellant's motion to dismiss and set the matter for trial September 27, 2016. On the day of trial, appellant pled guilty, and the trial court entered judgment pursuant to a plea agreement.[1] This appeal timely followed.

         Analysis

         Summarized below are relevant dates.

• 10/05/2012 Appellant was arrested for DWI
• 11/11/2013 Brazoria County, TX dismissed the case
• 07/01/2013 Fort Bend County, TX refiled the DWI charge
• 07/15/2013 Fort Bend County, TX mailed summons to N.J. address
• 08/02/2013 Appellant failed to appear in court in TX
• 08/12/2013 Arrest warrant was issued for appellant
• 09/10/2013 Summons returned unserved and stamped with ...

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