Driving While Intoxicated Per Se In Violation of VTL 1192(2): Sufficiency of Information: Information Must Contain First-Hand, Non-Hearsay Evidence Regarding Breath Test Result
In New York there are two different Driving While Intoxicated charges. Driving While Intoxicated under VTL 1192(3) is based upon the officer’s opinion that a motorist is intoxicated. This charge is independent of one’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) and is referred to as common law DWI. The other Driving While Intoxicated charge in New York is based solely upon one’s BAC being at or above .08 as determined by a chemical test such as a breathalyzer type test and is found at VTL 1192(2). This charge is independent of a motorists level of intoxication. That is to say if a motorist is able to handle the vehicle flawlessly they are still guilty of DWI by virtue of their blood alcohol level.
When one is charged under VTL 1192(2) based upon a BAC of .08 or above, the allegation of a BAC of .08 or above must be supported by non-hearsay evidence. What is called the accusatory instrument will be deemed insufficient if the allegation regarding the .08 BAC is not supported by non-hearsay evidence. In other words, it is insufficient for one officer to allege that the defendant’s BAC was .08 unless that officer administered the test or witnessed the test.
For example, in People v Bonner (Lisa), 31 Misc. 3d 142A (App. Term 2nd Dept. 2011), the Court found the Information (accusatory instrument) insufficient where Officer
Montemurro alleged that defendant’s breath test result revealed a .16% BAC but he did not state that he had administered the test, or observed the test being conducted. Furthermore, the Intoxilyzer 5000 printout card which had allegedly been annexed to the information for the breathalyzer test result included the signature of another officer who had conducted the breathalyzer test. Further, the printout that was signed by another officer did not attest to any personal knowledge nor was it properly verified.
Accordingly, the Court found that the lower court should have granted defendant’s motion to dismiss because “[t]he information did not set forth nonhearsay allegations which, if true, established every element, and defendant's commission thereof, of the offense charged.” Id.