People v. Blajeski
Court Discusses Whether there was Probable Cause to Suspect the Defendant for Driving While Intoxicated DWI
The defendant was arrested for driving while intoxicated after parking in a drug prone area. The defendant was found drug prone area with in a vehicle with two other males while the engine was running at a curb. The police observed that the defendant had blood shot eyes, slurred speech and his breath smelled of alcohol after he was questioned by the police. The defendant was also found in possession of cocaine and diazepam, a prescription drug after being searched. The Supreme Court suppressed the findings of the search due to lack of probable cause to suspect that he was participating in criminal activity. The People appealed the decision.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court held that there was probable cause to suspect that the defendant was engaged in illegal activities because of the observations by the police officer. Since the vehicle was already stopped, the police officer needed only an articulable reason to warrant brief inquiry as to why defendant had stopped at location. The police officer’s observation that the defendant had signs of intoxication such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and odor of alcohol on his breath, while defendant was in motor vehicle with motor running, gave the officer probable cause to arrest the defendant for violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law. Thus, the drugs seized on the defendant’s person were admissible as it was incidental to the defendant’s arrest.
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