Justice ERICKSON delivered the Opinion of the Court.
We granted certiorari to review Wilczynski v. People, 873 P.2d 10 (Colo.App.1993),
The petitioner, Mark A. Wilczynski, was charged by information with second-degree burglary,
The petitioner moved for a proportionality review of his sentence. On July 23, 1991, the trial court issued a written order affirming the life sentence. The petitioner appealed his conviction and filed a motion for reconsideration and clarification of the trial court's order. He sought a determination of whether his California conviction for DUI-bodily injury was a "drug law conviction" for purposes of section 16-13-101(3). The court of appeals remanded, and the trial court found the petitioner's DUI-bodily injury conviction was a "drug law conviction" under section 16-13-101(3). Because the petitioner had only two prior felony convictions, the trial court resentenced him to twelve years in prison.
The prosecution appealed the trial court's ruling, and the court of appeals vacated the petitioner's sentence and remanded, holding that the petitioner's DUI-bodily injury conviction was not a "drug law conviction" under section 16-13-101(3). The court of appeals concluded the DUI-bodily injury conviction was a prior felony for purposes of section 16-13-101
Our primary task in construing a statute is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the General Assembly. Whimbush v. People, 869 P.2d 1245, 1249 (Colo.1994). Statutory words and phrases should be given effect according to their plain and ordinary meaning, and the statute must be read and considered as a whole. City of Lakewood v. Mavromatis, 817 P.2d 90, 96 (Colo.1991). In construing a statute, ambiguous language must be analyzed in context with, and with regard to, its intended purpose as manifested by the statutory scheme. Harvey v. Harvey, 841 P.2d 375, 379 (Colo.App.1992). The General Assembly is vested with constitutional authority to define criminal conduct and to delineate statutory bars and defenses to criminal prosecution. People v. Guenther, 740 P.2d 971, 977 (Colo.1987). Each provision of a statute must be construed in harmony with the overall statutory scheme in order to accomplish the purpose for which the statute was enacted. People v. Johnson, 797 P.2d 1296, 1297 (Colo.1990).
The petitioner was convicted of DUI-bodily injury in California pursuant to California Vehicle Code section 23153(a) (West 1985), which provided:
Section 23153(a) is included within California's Vehicle Code, not in its Health and Safety Code, where drug related offenses are codified. See Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 11350-11392 (West 1991 & 1995 Supp.). Under California law, DUI-bodily injury is a motor vehicle offense, not a drug offense.
The Colorado analog to section 23153(a) is section 42-4-1202(1)(a), 17 C.R.S. (1993).
The General Assembly could have included driving under the influence of alcohol as a drug law offense under article 18 of title 18, but chose to categorize driving under the influence of alcohol as a vehicular offense under title 42. Under Colorado law, driving under the influence of alcohol is a vehicular offense, not a "drug law offense."
The petitioner contends the court of appeals erred because section 16-13-101(3) is ambiguous. Under the rule of lenity, ambiguous statutes in the penal code are to be construed in favor of the accused. People v. Lowe, 660 P.2d 1261, 1268 (Colo.1983). Petitioner argues that in applying the rule of lenity to the present case, the phrase "drug law conviction" does include the California DUI-bodily injury conviction. We disagree.
Forgey, 770 P.2d at 783 (citations omitted). Because the General Assembly categorized driving under the influence as a vehicular offense and not a drug law offense, it is not necessary or proper to resort to the rule of lenity as a principle of statutory construction in this case.
The petitioner's DUI-bodily injury conviction was a felony under California law. See Cal.Veh.Code §§ 23153, 23180 (West 1985); Cal.Penal Code § 17 (West 1985). The trial court determined that, under Colorado law, petitioner's conviction would not have been a felony. However, for purposes of section 16-13-101, the California DUI-bodily injury conviction is a felony in Colorado. See People v. Drake, 785 P.2d 1257, 1267-68 (Colo.1990) (stating that " `it makes no difference for the purposes of enhanced punishment that a previously committed crime is not a felony in Colorado if it is a felony where the conviction was had' ") (quoting People v. Marquez, 692 P.2d 1089,1101 n. 18 (Colo.1984)). The court of appeals properly determined that the petitioner's DUI-bodily injury conviction, in addition to his two other California felony convictions, require that he be punished as an habitual criminal.
Accordingly, we affirm and return this case to the court of appeals with directions to remand to the trial court for the imposition of a life sentence.
Section 16-13-101, 8A C.R.S. (1986) (habitual criminal statute) was amended in 1993 and 1994. See ch. 322, sec. 1, § 16-13-101, 1993 Colo.Sess. Laws 1975; ch. 261, sec. 1, § 16-13-101, 1994 Colo.Sess.Laws 1470. However, § 16-13-101(3) was not changed.