This case deals with the Plaintiff/Claiming Authority, Christine Malafi, who is the County Attorney for Suffolk County. The defendants in the matter are Edward J. Radwinsky and the Ford Motor Credit Company. The case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York that is located in Suffolk County.
On the 19th of December, 2004, the defendant was arrested for operating the subject Ford while he was intoxicated (DWI). He was driving in the eastbound lane of the service road on the Long Island Expressway in the city of Hauppauge, New York. The defendant was given a breathalyzer test after being taken into custody. The breathalyzer showed that his blood alcohol level was 0.19%, which is above the legal limit. This resulted in the defendant being arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Before this particular arrest the defendant had been charged with another driving under the influence of alcohol arrest on the 16th of May, 1988. This previous arrest resulted in the vehicle of the defendant being seized at the time of the December 2004 incident. This is in accordance with New York state laws. A hearing was held on the fourth of January, 2005 and the plaintiff was directed to keep the vehicle until a forfeiture proceeding was held.
The plaintiff has issued an instant application in regard to the forfeit of the vehicle. The plaintiff argues that there are no triable issues of fact in this case. There was probable cause for the defendant’s arrest in the December incident. Retaining the vehicle was necessary in regard to law and for that reason the plaintiff is entitled to the judgment in their favor. The plaintiff also argues that the defendant has now been charged with two DWI offenses and for this reason the vehicle should be removed from the plaintiff as a way to protect innocent motorists on the highway.
The defendant has filed a cross motion for a summary judgment that would return his vehicle to him. The defendant states that using the prior conviction from 1988 is in violation of his right to due process. The defendant also argues that the motion for summary judgment made by the plaintiff is premature as discovery in the case is not yet completed.
Case Discussion and Decision
The court has reviewed the facts of the case. The defendant is on his second offense for driving under the influence of alcohol. The first offense occurred in 1988 and he was charged. The second offense called for his vehicle to be taken.
After careful review the court is ruling in favor of the plaintiff. The vehicle, a 1997 Ford, is given to the plaintiff and claiming authority, Christine Malafi, County Attorney for Suffolk County. The vehicle will be turned over to the plaintiff and disposed of in accordance with provisions in Suffolk County Code, chapter 270, article IV.
The cross motion that has been made by the defendant is denied. The vehicle will not be returned to the defendant and the summary judgment in his favor is denied.
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