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DWI Evidence Challenged as Hearsay Testimony

Sometime on January 20, 1956 in the City of Rochester, New York, a person drove his automobile (1953 Plymouth) unlawfully and figured in a collision at the corner of South Union Street with another automobile (1951 Chevrolet). When a police officer arrived at around 3:45 p.m. the driver of the 1953 Plymouth had already left the scene. At around 4:30 p.m. the police officer had found out where the owner of the 1953 Plymouth lived. He went there and the person who answered the door seemed to the officer to be unsteady on his feet. He had bloodshot eyes and he smelled of alcohol.

According to a New York Criminal Lawyer, the police officer asked the man if owned the 1953 Plymouth which was involved in a collision on South Union Street. The man said yes and he explained to the police officer that he left the scene of the accident because he did not want to be arrested for driving while intoxicated. He claimed that since the accident occurred, he had not had a drink. When the police asked the man to accompany him to the precinct, the man walked unsteadily as he tried to get his shoes and put them on his feet.

A New York Criminal Lawyer said the man was arrested for the misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated. At his trial he claimed that his arrest was unlawful. He claims that the crime of driving while intoxicated is a mere misdemeanor and the police officer had to have witnessed the misdemeanor happening right in front of him for him to effect the arrest without a warrant. And since he was arrested for a misdemeanor without a warrant, his arrest is illegal and the charges should be dismissed.
The man also urges that the information against him should be dismissed on the ground that it is fatally defective because it contains insufficient evidence as it only contains hearsay testimony of the police officer.

The Court ruled that the arrest was valid because the man fled the scene of the accident. The police pursued him to his house. And when there, the police officer asked the man if he owned the 1953 Plymouth and he admitted that he did own it. When the police officer saw the man stagger and sway; when he smelled alcohol on his breath; and when he saw his bloodshot eyes, the police officer had probable cause to believe that the man was indeed driving the 1953 Plymouth while intoxicated. The arrest without a warrant is legal. Because the arrest is legal, the man has been legally placed under the jurisdiction of the court.

After he had been arrested and made to stand before the court, the information which contained the charges served only to inform the man of the accusation against him. The information itself need not contain sufficient evidence to support the issuance of a warrant of arrest since the man had already been arrested.

The information itself was supported by a deposition under oath of the police officer who set forth the facts which tended to show that a crime had been committed and the man was probably guilty of that crime. All that is necessary to make the information sufficient is for it to identify what crime was being charged against the accused and the identity of the accused. This is necessary so that the man can know that he is being charged with and so, prepare for his defense.

The information need not state all the bases for the charges. It is enough that the facts contained in the information be based on the personal knowledge of the police officer. It is these same facts to which the police officer will testify during the trial.

Have you fled the scene of a vehicular accident to hide the fact that you were driving while intoxicated? This act can bring about criminal prosecutions as well as civil suits in damages. You need an experienced and ably trained lawyer to guide you through the complexities of the legal system. Whether you have been charged with a DWI, sex crimes, or a theft crime, it is important to ensure that your rights are protected.

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