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Admission Inadmissible Prior to Miranda Rights Being Read

The People of the State of New York are the plaintiffs in this case. The defendant in the matter is Mary G. Moran. The case is being heard in the District Court of Suffolk County, First District. Judge Salvatore A. Alamia is presiding over the hearing.

The defendant has been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), speeding, and failing to maintain a lane. A Dunaway, Huntley and refusal hearing has been held in the case to determine which evidence will be submitted in the trial. The evidence in question includes statements that were allegedly made by the defendant and the refusal of submitting to a breathalyzer test by the defendant.

Case Facts

Officer Michael D. Messina is the sole witness at the hearing. He is a police officer for the Suffolk County Police Department. He has been an officer with the department for two years.

During the incident in question, Officer Messina was working a 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift. The date of the incident was the 29th of December, 2006. At around three in the morning officer Messina was driving east on Route 25 in North Babylon, in Suffolk County. He noticed a purple Dodge driving in front of him. The dodge made a very wide left turn onto Coram-Mt. Sinai Road. The vehicle crossed the white line that marked the shoulder of the road and almost hit the curb. After turning the car accelerated to around 62 miles per hour. The speed limit for the road was 30 miles per hour.

Officer Messina followed the vehicle for about a minute and stayed about 50 to 100 feet behind it. He saw that the vehicle was not staying in its lane, swerved into the right shoulder of the road, and almost hit the curb. At this point he put on his lights and pulled the vehicle over.

He went up to the driver of the vehicle and asked for her license and registration. She gave him the documents and he noticed that her eyes were watery and bloodshot. He also smelled alcohol on her breath. He asked her if she had been drinking and she said no. He asked her to step outside of the vehicle. When the defendant was exiting the vehicle he noticed that she was unsteady on her feet and had to hold onto the car twice.

Officer Messina conducted a field sobriety test on the defendant. The defendant was also given a breathalyzer test and her BAC was found to be at 0.12.

Officer Messina asked her once again if she had been drinking. She stated that she had two Long Island Ice Teas and the last one she had finished a half an hour before.

At the precinct the defendant was read the alcohol/drug influence report. She read the form and refused the chemical test.

Court Decision

The court finds that the officer had probable cause to pull the vehicle over. The officer had reason to believe the defendant had been drinking and for this reason all evidence from the stop and arrest is admissible in court.

The defendant’s admission of having two drinks is not admissible as it was asked before her Miranda rights were read. All of the statements made by the defendant after her rights were read and while at the precinct will be admissible.

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