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Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192…cont

In addition, the People offered no evidence whatsoever that the defendant was in fact following too closely, or had moved from his lane unsafely. This Criminal Court is aware from the testimony solicited that there was at least one other operator and perhaps other passengers involved in this accident in Vehicle 1. On the date of trial, there were no additional witnesses presented by the People, such as lay witnesses, who could have testified that they saw the defendant’s vehicle-that is, Vehicle 2, following Vehicle 1 too closely or that the defendant had moved from his singe lane unsafely causing the motor vehicle accident. It would be pure speculation for the court to conclude that the defendant was in fact following another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, or had moved from his lane unsafely, as a result of Officer K’s observation of the two vehicles in the left turning lane.

Moreover, with respect to the last violation-that is, Consumption or Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in a Motor Vehicle, there was testimony that there was a 12-ounce Labatt’s Blue beer can in the center console of the defendant’s vehicle, half full. However, the People did not enter any evidence into the record of any kind, that the actual content of the 12-ounce Labatt’s Blue beer can was field tested and confirmed to be an alcoholic beverage that defendant was in possession of, or that the defendant was actively consuming the alcoholic beverage in the vehicle at that point in time of operation.

During his examination, Officer K could not recall whether the can was cold or warm. For the Court to conclude that there was alcohol inside the can and not some other fluid or substance, especially in light of the fact there is no recollection of the 12-ounce can being cold or warm, or for the Court to conclude that the defendant was consuming the 12-ounce can while operating the vehicle, all from the mere fact that a half full can was inside the center console, would be judicial stitchery which this Court is unwilling to perform. Without any further testimony regarding a field test of the content inside the can, or that the defendant was consuming alcohol as he was operating the vehicle, the People have not overcome its burden of proving the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

Accordingly, after reviewing the evidence presented, the relevant sections of the Vehicle and Traffic Law cited, and having had a full opportunity to have had due deliberation thereon, this Court concludes that the defendant is not guilty of violating New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law § § 1192(3) [Driving While Intoxicated], DWI 1194(1)(b) [Refusal of Breath Screening Test], 1128(a) [Moved From Lane Unsafely], 1129(a) [Following Too Closely], and §1227-1 [Consumption or Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in Motor Vehicle].

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