CONSIDERED ON BRIEFS ON NOVEMBER 7, 2016
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE THIRD JUDICIAL CIRCUIT BEADLE
COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA THE HONORABLE JON R. ERICKSON Judge
J. JACKLEY Attorney General.
M. STROHMAN Assistant Attorney General Pierre, South Dakota
Attorneys for plaintiff and appellee
P. PILCHER of Bridgman & Anderson Law Firm Miller, South
Dakota Attorneys for defendant and appellant.
GILBERTSON, Chief Justice
Antwaun Underwood pleaded guilty to possessing a controlled
substance, and the circuit court sentenced him to
imprisonment for four years. Underwood appeals and argues the
court failed to identify aggravating factors sufficient to
deviate from a presumptive sentence of probation. We affirm.
and Procedural History
On January 23, 2015, Huron Police Officer Adam Doerr observed
Underwood's vehicle travelling in excess of the speed
limit. Officer Doerr initiated a traffic stop and approached
Underwood. While speaking to Underwood, Officer Doerr noticed
a green, leafy substance that he believed to be marijuana, as
well as paraphernalia, on the center console of the vehicle.
Officer Doerr informed Underwood that he was placing him
under arrest. A subsequent search of Underwood's coat
revealed a plastic baggy containing a green, leafy substance.
Underwood acknowledged that the baggy belonged to him.
Underwood was charged by complaint with one count of
ingesting a substance for the purpose of becoming
intoxicated, one count of possessing two ounces or less of
marijuana, and one count of possessing a controlled
substance. He was also charged with driving with a suspended
license. An information was later filed that charged
Underwood with possessing a controlled substance. Underwood
failed to appear for his preliminary hearing, but on November
1, 2015, he pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a
controlled substance. The circuit court departed from a
presumptive sentence of probation and sentenced Underwood to
imprisonment for four years.
Underwood appeals, raising one issue: Whether the
circumstances enumerated by the circuit court justified a
departure from the presumptive sentence of probation under
The central issue in this case is a question of statutory
construction. We review such issues de novo. Good Lance
v. Black Hills Dialysis, LLC, 2015 S.D. 83, ¶ 9,
871 N.W.2d 639, 643. Thus, we give no deference to the
circuit court's legal conclusions. Id.