Argued: November 15, 2017
Heather Nadeau, Esq. (orally), The Law Office of Tina Heather
Nadeau, PLLC, Portland, for appellant Dmitri L. Cannady
Stephanie Anderson, District Attorney, and Jennifer F.
Ackerman, Asst. Dist. Atty. (orally), Prosecutorial District
Two, Portland, for appellee State of Maine
SAUFLEY, C.J., and MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY,
In 2004, the Secretary of State mailed a notice to Dmitri L.
Cannady's last known address, with information that his
right to operate a motor vehicle was about to be revoked. The
letter was returned by postal officials to the Secretary of
State's office with a notice on the envelope that Cannady
had moved and left no forwarding address. More than eleven
years later, Cannady was stopped for a traffic violation and
subsequently charged with operating after habitual offender
revocation (Class D), 29-A M.R.S. § 2557-A(2)(A) (2017),
and failing to give his correct name (Class E), 17-A M.R.S.
§ 15-A(2) (2017); 29-A M.R.S. § 105(4)
(2017). After holding a jury-waived trial, the
court (Cumberland County, L. Walker, J.) convicted
him of both charges.
This appeal by Cannady calls for us to answer the narrow
question of whether the statutory requirement of notice is
satisfied where the Secretary of State elects to mail the
notification to the licensee's most recent address on
file with the Secretary of State pursuant to 29-A M.R.S.
§ 2557-A(1)(A)(4) (2017) and that notification is
returned by postal authorities as undeliverable. We conclude
that, in those particular circumstances, the statutory
notification process necessary for a conviction for operating
after habitual offender revocation has not been satisfied. We
therefore vacate the conviction for that charge but affirm
the conviction for failing to give his correct
The following facts found by the court are supported by the
record, which we view in the light most favorable to the
judgment. See State v. Jeskey, 2016 ME 134,
¶¶ 30, 33, 146 A.3d 127. A Portland police officer
working the evening shift on December 4, 2015, pulled into a
convenience store parking lot on Forest Avenue. The officer
observed a person, later identified as Cannady, drive a
vehicle out of the parking lot without wearing his seatbelt.
After making a traffic stop for the seatbelt violation, 29-A
M.R.S. § 2081(3-A) (2017), the officer asked Cannady for
his name and identification documents. Cannady provided a
false name and had difficulty providing an address, phone
number, and social security number. Because the officer was
unable to verify Cannady's identity with the name Cannady
had given, the officer detained Cannady and transported him
to the jail for fingerprinting. A cruiser video recording
shows that while en route to the jail, Cannady admitted to
the officer that he was not the person whose name he had
provided. After Cannady identified himself correctly, the
officer learned from the dispatcher that Cannady's
license had been revoked and that there was an outstanding
warrant for failing to appear on an earlier revocation
The State charged Cannady with operating after habitual
offender revocation and failing to give his correct name.
Cannady entered pleas of not guilty. At a jury-waived trial
held in December of 2016, only the officer testified. The
court admitted in evidence a certification from the Secretary
of State's office stating that Cannady's license had
been revoked as of the alleged offense date and that notice
of that revocation had been sent to Cannady in conformity
with 29-A M.R.S. §2482(1)(A) (2017); a notice of
revocation dated July 21, 2004, addressed to Cannady and
stating that his driver's license or right to operate
will be revoked for an indefinite period effective August 5,
2004; and an envelope bearing a postmark of July
26, 2004, which had been returned to the Secretary of State
on August 11, 2004, with the notation, "MOVED LEFT NO
ADDRESS UNABLE TO FORWARD RETURN TO SENDER."
At the close of the State's case, Cannady moved for a
judgment of acquittal on the charge of operating after
habitual offender revocation on the grounds that he did not
have actual knowledge that his license had been revoked and
that the Secretary of State had failed to take appropriate
steps to provide that notice to him after the written notice
of revocation was returned as undeliverable. In a written
order, the court denied Cannady's motion and found him
guilty of both charges. At the sentencing hearing, the court
imposed the mandatory minimum thirty-day jail term and $500
fine on the charge of operating after habitual offender
revocation and a concurrent seven-day jail sentence on the
charge of failure to give his correct name. Cannady filed a
timely notice of appeal. See 15 M.R.S. §2115
(2017); M.R. App. P. 2(a)(3), (b)(2)(A) (Tower
Cannady asserts on appeal that pursuant to Maine's
statutes and principles of due process-particularly given
increases in the severity of sentences to be imposed for the
crime of operating after habitual offender
revocation-the Secretary of State is required to do
more when it is on notice that its chosen method of
communication was unsuccessful and that the State is required
to prove that the licensee has received or otherwise has
actual knowledge of the revocation.
We review constitutional challenges de novo, see State v.
Jones, 2012 ME 126, ¶ 35, 55 A.3d 432, and, on a
challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support a
criminal conviction, we look to "whether the trier of
fact could have found every element of the offense charged
beyond a reasonable doubt," State v. Tayman,
2008 ME 177, ¶ 4, 960 A.2d 1151. "The
interpretation of a statute is a legal issue we review de
novo." State v. Jones, 2012 ME 88, ¶ 6, 46
A.3d 1125. Criminal statutes are "'strictly
construed ... to avoid absurd, illogical, or inconsistent
results.'" Id. (quoting State v.
Nastvogel, 2002 ME 97, ¶ 6, 798 A.2d 1114). Our
purpose in interpreting a statute is "to effectuate the
intent of the Legislature, which is ordinarily gleaned from
the plain language of the statute." State v.
Kendall, 2016 ME 147, ¶ 14, 148 A.3d 1230
(quotation marks omitted). "We examine [the] statutory
language in the context of the entire statutory scheme."
Id. Only if the statute is ambiguous do we look
beyond the plain language to the legislative history.
State v. Legassie, 2017 ME 202, ¶ 13, 171 A.3d
589. "A statute is ambiguous if it is reasonably
susceptible to different interpretations." Carrier
v. Sec'y of State, 2012 ME 142, ¶ 12, 60 A.3d
1241 (quotation marks omitted).
For a person to be convicted of the crime of operating after
habitual offender revocation, the State must prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that the accused operated a motor vehicle on
a public way when that person's license to operate had
been revoked. 29-A M.R.S. § 2557-A(1)(A) (2017).
Additionally, and central to the issue in this case, the
State must prove that the accused
(1) [h]as received written notice of the revocation from the
Secretary of State;
(2) [h]as been orally informed of the revocation by a law
(3) [h]as actual knowledge of the revocation; or
(4) [i]s a person to whom written notice was sent in
accordance with section 2482 or former Title 29, section
2241, subsection 4.
29-A M.R.S. § 2557-A(1)(A) (emphasis added).
As section 2557-A(1)(A) is structured, the first three of
these alternatives comprise various ways of providing the
licensee with actual notice, whereas the fourth
constitutes an attempt to provide notice. At oral
argument, the State made explicit that it is not
asserting that Cannady had actual knowledge that the
Secretary of State had revoked his license, even though he
had been convicted three times for operating after
suspension, see supra n.3, and provided incorrect
identification information to the officer in this case.
at issue here is only the last of the alternative elements
prescribed in section 2557-A(1)(A)(4), which incorporates ...