The defendant has filed an appeal for his conviction. The court found the defendant guilty of DWI. He was also found guilty of violating traffic rules and regulations. The defendant reportedly failed to stick to the right side of the road while driving and went over a hazard marking.
The court finds the defendant guilty of the DWI after he went off the rural road while driving and as a result, his car hit the telephone pole. The defendant allegedly left the scene without reporting the incident to authorities. After his trial by jury, the court sentenced him to 1 to 3 years of imprisonment. The defendant has filed a motion for appeal.
A New York Criminal Lawyer said that the defendant asserted in his appeal that the proof of his intoxication while driving should be declared as legally insufficient. According to his statement, the defendant claimed that he did not become intoxicated until after his accident involving the telephone pole.
A witness gave a statement and said that he came upon the staggering defendant standing on the middle of the road. The witness saw that he was talking to his mobile phone. The witness came upon him and remarked that the defendant had been drinking. The defendant replied that he only started drinking after he crashed the telephone pole. The witness further testified that the defendant had slurring speech and looked dazed and confused.
The state trooper who arrived at the scene searched the defendant’s car and found a half empty vodka bottle. However, the defendant had fled from the scene. Later on, another state trooper came by the house of the defendant. A New York City Criminal Lawyer said the trooper had observed that the defendant had glassy eyes, slurred speech and had difficulty in body coordination. The trooper also detected the smell of alcohol on the defendant.
When the defendant was tested several times for sobriety, he failed repeatedly. During the time of the accident, the jury has noted that the weather was clear and dry. It was also noted that there was only one slight bend on the road near the crash site.
During the investigation of the trooper, the defendant told him that the he had one or two beers at the party that he attended before he drove off for home. The defendant then claimed that he did was not intoxicated until after arriving home. According to his statement, the defendant drank a few more beers and emptied half a bottle of whiskey before the state trooper arrived on his doorstep. The defendant further told the trooper that he was staggering in the middle of the road because of the dizziness he felt from the impact of the airbag in his car.
Based from the evidence presented, the court finds the case in favor of the people. The jury also concluded that the defendant drove off the side of the road and hit the telephone pole because he was intoxicated.
Regarding the matter of the defendant’s appeal that the court did not comply with a statute involving the substitution of a juror while on trial. According to the statute, when there are changes made among the jurors, the court must put into writing the changes made and have the defendant sign the document. This should be done in the presence of open court. However, the defendant contends that he was not given anything to sign during the proceedings. In this case, the court granted the request of the defendant to substitute a current juror for another one. Despite consent provided by the defendant and his counsel, the appeals court has found that the county court had not followed the procedure of having the defendant sign a written consent in open court. This violates the constitutional right of the defendant by jury composed of 12 members.
The appeals court therefore finds the issue to be a constitutional matter and requires judgment to be reversed. The case will be tried again in county court.
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