Pattern jury instructions set forth the elements of an offense. All of the elements of the offense must be proven by the People in order for someone to be convicted of that specific offense.
With respect to Vehicle And Traffic Law section 1192-(3), common-law driving while intoxicated, the following elements must be proven by the People beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that on or about a specific date in a specific town/village/County the defendant operated a motor vehicle and (2) that the defendant did so while in an intoxicated condition. In order for a conviction to be met both elements must be proved.
The terms motor vehicle, operation, and intoxication are defined in the pattern jury instructions. For example the pattern jury instructions define a person being in an intoxicated condition when: “such person has consumed alcohol to the extent that he or she is incapable, to a substantial extent, of employing the physical and mental abilities which he or she is expected to possess in order to operate a vehicle as a reasonable and prudent driver.”
With respect to Vehicle And Traffic Law section 1192 –(2), driving while intoxicated per se, (.08 BAC), the following elements must be proven by the People beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that on or about a specific date in a specific town/village/County the defendant operated a motor vehicle and (2) that the defendant did so when he/she had .08 of one per centum or more by weight of alcohol in his/her blood, as shown by a chemical analysis of such person’s blood, breath, urine or saliva.
Various forms of evidence can be utilized by the People to meet their burden. Much of the evidence is derived from the testimony of the arresting officer which is subject to cross-examination by the defense attorney. However documentary evidence including the results of a chemical test and the calibration records are also typically used.
New York criminal procedure Law section 70.20 sets forth the standard of proof needed for a conviction: this statute states, “no conviction of an offense by verdict is valid unless based upon trial evidence which is legally sufficient and which establishes beyond a reasonable doubt every element of such offense and the defendant’s commission thereof.”
New York criminal procedure Law section 70.10(1) further defines “legally sufficient evidence” as “competent evidence which, if accepted as true, would establish every element of an offense charged and the defendant’s commission thereof, except that such evidence is not legally sufficient when corroboration required by law is absent.”
New York criminal procedure Law section 60.50 provides that: “a person may not be convicted of any offense solely upon evidence of a confession or admission made by him without additional proof that the offense charged has been committed.”
Determining the strength or weakness of a client’s case requires the DWI defense attorney to carefully reviewed the accusatory instruments, supporting documents, chemical test results, calibration records, the basis for the stop of the vehicle, the results of field sobriety test, statements of the client to law enforcement, clients interactions with law enforcement, any video or audio recordings, in addition to other such evidence.
An effective DWI defense attorney must know the elements of the offenses charged, the standard of proof required, and whether the evidence is legally sufficient as supported by the allegations in a client’s case.
Each case is different and presents a unique set of circumstances. The particular circumstances of your case may provide a valid defense, mitigation factors, a basis for a favorable plea, or a determination that a trial may be necessary.
If you’ve been charged with a DWI or other alcohol-related driving offense and want to determine if the evidence against you is sufficient or if you have a defense against your case, call attorney Jason C Henskee today for a free review of your case.
February 6, 2017.