Monday, May 1, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Pringle Hearings and Suspension Pending Prosecution

This is a delicious Pringle

Back when I was new to New York DWI I attended my first DUI program. They talked about "Pringle" and what it meant to ask for a Pringle.

Why would you even have a Pringle hearing? Many lawyers, judges, and even prosecutors are in the dark when it comes to understanding Pringle. I love Pringle potato chips but that's not the point, I think the point is applying specific legal knowledge to a specific legal goal.

What is a New York DWI Pringle Hearing?

Pringle came about as a result of a challenge to New York's Suspension Pending Prosecution law.

The prompt suspension law requires the suspension, pending prosecution, of the license of a driver charged with driving while intoxicated. (if the driver has an out of state license, they lose only NYS privileges).
You see, New York State as many states suspends driving privileges at the beginning of each and every DWI (there are some exceptions) but a great lawyer thought shouldn't you be given notice and a hearing.

The inventor of the Pringle is one of New York's best DWI lawyer's (Ed Fiandach). The case was Pringle v. Wolfe (with Wolfe being the judge in the case) et al (the case included the NYS DMV). Mr. Fiandach argued for notice and a hearing before the suspension pending prosecution. After that was born the Pringle hearing. New York State DWI defense attorneys can all thank the man from Rochester for his hard work in getting us Pringle.

Pringle Hearings are About Notice and a Hearing Before Taking Your Driving Privileges

First comes Notice that your license is about to be suspended, and then you get an opportunity (hearing) to contest the loss of your driver's license privileges. You could present evidence and cross examine witnesses to challenge one of two things: the stop of the car and the reliability of the breath (or blood) test. After all your license to drive in New York State is a substantial property interest (not merely a privilege).

Pringles Hearings and New York DWI Procedural Due Process

It is well established that a driver's license is a substantial property interest that may not be deprived without due process of law (see, Bell v Burson, 402 US 535, 539). The issue on appeal, then, is what process is due to protect against the risk of erroneous deprivation                                                  
                                                                                        Pringle v. Wolfe 

At the suspension hearing, the court must first determine whether the accusatory instrument is sufficient on its face (the tickets are accurateand next whether there exists reasonable (probable) cause to believe that the driver operated (not just driving) a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol level in excess of .10 (Pringle is an old case before .08 BAC) of one percent as shown by a chemical test (id.).

The court may not order suspension of the license unless it has in its possession the results of the chemical test, and, as the Commissioner concedes, these results must be presented to the court in certified, documented form (see, CPLR 4518[c]).

The court may not order suspension of the driver's license unless it has in its possession the documented results of a reliable (remember reliable for laterchemical test showing that the driver's blood alcohol level was in excess of .10 (.08 BAC in 2017) of one percent
                                                                                        Pringle v. Wolfe  

You Must Ask for a Pringle DWI Hearing to Get a Pringle Hearing

With any given skill set you use it when appropriate. Some lawyers love to ask for a Pringle hearing haphazardly, as in all the time or even when it makes no sense. I know, lawyers shouldn't waste time and money and process unless they have a purpose?

In my next blog post I'll explore a recent court decision where a lawyer asked for a Pringle DWI hearing, and in my opinion (hindsight is always 20/20) I don't know what the true purpose was?