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Court Determines Double Jeopardy Doesnt Apply in this Matter


The plaintiff’s of the case are the People of the State of New York. Kendrick Roopnarine is the defendant of the case. The District Court of Nassau County is where the case is being heard, with Judge Kenneth L. Gartner overseeing the proceeding.

The defendant of the case, Kendrick Roopnarine has been charged with two counts of driving while intoxicated (DWI) as well as three traffic infractions that were committed at the same place during the same time. All of the charges were calendared to be heard in the Nassau County Court. An administrative error resulted in the traffic infractions also being calendared in the Traffic and Parking Violations Agency of Nassau County. The defendant has plea-bargained with the Traffic and Parking Violations agency for a resolution regarding the traffic violations. He is now seeking to have the criminal charges of the case dismissed on the grounds of double jeopardy.

Defendant Argument

The defendant has moved to have the driving while intoxicated charges made against him dismissed. He argues that the noncriminal charges that were made against him have already been dismissed and because of this the criminal charges of the DWI are banned from prosecution as it would violate the double jeopardy clauses.

Court Discussion and Decision

When looking at the facts of this case it is quite clear that the traditional rules of double jeopardy are not applicable in the matter. The 5th amendment rights are not implicated in this particular case because the offenses being charged are not the same. Leaving the scene of an accident and driving under the influence of alcohol do not require the same evidence to prove guilt of each offense.

New York statutory laws are a bit broader, stating that a person cannot be prosecuted for two offenses that are based on the same criminal transaction or act. However, there are exemptions to these statutory laws that explain that if the two acts are substantially different the person may be tried for both or all offenses.

In this particular case the defendant had the right to request that the noncriminal charges being heard in the Traffic and Parking Violations Agency of Nassau County be dismissed or transferred. This would have prevented the defendant from being subjected to separate prosecutions for the same charges. Instead, the defendant went directly from his arraignment in district court to the Traffic and Violations Agency, fully aware that there had been an administrative error.

The principles of double jeopardy would apply to any attempt that was made to retry him on the three traffic infractions that have already been pleaded out in the Traffic and Parking Violations Agency. However, the other charges have not been dealt with.

Ironically, the defendant relies on the fact that all of the five charges were pending in district court. This shows that he willingly chose to have his case heard in two different forums. For this reason, the defendant’s motion to have the charges for driving while intoxicated dismissed is denied. The matter that was dealt with in the Traffic and Parking Violations Agency are not under the jurisdiction of this court and the defendant is not seeking relief from them, so the court will not address the issue.

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