New York statutory law requires that certain crimes be convicted only if there is corroboration that the event took place. If there is no corroboration, then the defendant cannot be found guilty. However, the statutory law does not include this requirement for corroboration if the crime that has been committed is a misdemeanor. In 2011, a defendant challenged his conviction on misdemeanor driving while under the influence, because he claims that the admission of the evidence does not provide corroboration of the crime by the admission of additional evidence.
The prosecution claims that on the night that he was arrested, he was not guilty of any illegal action. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said he contends that an officer approached him while he was standing next to a car. He was not physically in control of the vehicle at the time that he was approached. The police officer contends that he observed an obviously intoxicated man standing next to a vehicle. He stated that the defendant had watery eyes, slurred speech, was unsteady on his feet and had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on or about his clothing. He asked the defendant if he had been driving the vehicle and the defendant told the officer that he had. The officer arrested him for driving while under the influence of alcohol and transported him to the location of the intoximeter breathalyzer machine. The defendant was requested to blow his breath into the machine. The machine reported that the defendant had a blood alcohol content of .141 which is considered to be over the legal limit.
The defendant stated that because there was no corroborating evidence that he had been driving the car except for his confession, that the confession is not valid. The Supreme Court evaluated the problem. They observed that although the legislature intentionally put a statement into action in regards to felony confessions, they did not list a corroborating evidence clause in misdemeanor cases. A New York Drug Crime Lawyer said the court is certain that the absence of this corroborating evidence clause was not merely an oversight. Since, the legislature saw fit to include the corroborating evidence clause in the felony statute, it stands to reason that the failure to include this clause in the misdemeanor segment of the statute is clearly the intent of the statute. If the legislature had intended that corroborating evidence is necessary if a defendant confesses to a misdemeanor offense, they would have specifically spelled out that qualification in the law. A Suffolk Drug Possession Lawyer said because it is not spelled out in the law, the court does not find that it would be appropriate to assume an intent that has not been demonstrated.