Thursday, May 24, 2018

Police Can't Establish Stop Sign Location: DWI Dismissed

Police have to testify in DWI cases. You can not be tried based upon paperwork and police reports. They are hearsay and inadmissible. When attorneys challenge the stop of a car in a DWI the police have come to court and testify to WHY they stopped the car. In a recent New York DWI case that was successfully challenged the police officers could not sufficiently describe the location of a STOP sign.


Can comparing a police report to police testimony defeat a DWI?
Can even probable cause for going through a stop sign be challenged? 


Testimony Insufficient Says Judge in People v. Marzan

What happens when the police allege you went through a STOP sign and that was the probable cause for the DWI investigation? Remember basic DWI law says you must be pulled over for  a valid reason. In most DWI and DWAI drug cases the valid reason is probable cause for  a traffic violation or an equipment violation. Many DWI cases start with a speeding car.

In People v. Marzan, a 2018 case out of the boroughs, Marzan was a train operator who was alleged to have gone through a STOP sign in Queens, NY. He admitted to having four drinks, he took a PBT, he took a chemical test of his breath, and he was arrested for DWI and reckless driving.


At The Marzan Suppression Hearing the Police Testified Badly 

Police officers testified that they couldn't remember if the street Marzan was on was a one way or a two way street. They testified that Marzan almost collided with the police car. Their police report had the location of the STOP sign as South EAST but upon testifying changed that to WEST. There was no mention of the near collision in the police report.

In sum the police testimony was IN-consistent with the testimony. They could not establish the location of the STOP sign that Marzan was alleged to have gone through.

If the police can't make out the proper details of their stop of Marzan's car then they cannot make out PC (probable cause) for the stop. Any DWI case or any case involving a traffic violation the attorney must be as familiar with the roads as the police. Many cases can turn on the actual road or highway.

Success is always in the details and Marzan shows why visiting the DWI scene is so important.