People v Kelly
Court Discusses a Defendant’s Confrontation Rights Regarding Breathalyzer Machines
The Defendant was arrested of driving under the influence after the arresting officer observed his erratic behavior including swerving and nearly striking the traffic delineators. The defendant took a breathalyzer test which revealed that his alcohol content was above the legal limit. The defendant was convicted of driving under the intoxicated pursuant to Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192. The defendant appealed his convicted on the grounds that his confrontation right was infringed and that the initial stop should be reviewed. DWI was apparant.
A person has a constitutional right to confront a complaint who makes an accusation against them in court in a criminal case. In the instant case, a breathalyzer test was done which revealed that the defendant was intoxicated; as a result, the defendant asserted that he should be presented information to show that the machine was working properly when the test was conducted. However, the records inspection and maintenance and the calibration of the instrument were not testimonial hearsay as such his confrontation rights were not violated under the principle established Crawford v Washington, 541 US 36 (2004). Additionally, the defendant’s unusual behavior while operating the motor vehicle was questionable. The observations by the arresting officer showed that the defendant was clearly under the influence as he was swerving. Therefore, the court declined to review the initial stop in the interest of justice as his behavior provided a proper basis for the stop of his motor vehicle.
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