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Home / Case Digests / Court of Appeals — Probable Cause: People v. Vandover

Court of Appeals — Probable Cause: People v. Vandover

New York State Court of Appeals

Probable Cause

Driving While Intoxicated

People v. Vandover
No. 202
Judge Ciparick

Background: The defendant appeared in a Justice Court on an unrelated traffic ticket. While at the courthouse, the defendant spoke with an officer who noticed that she had glassy, bloodshot eyes, an odor of alcohol on her breath and seemed lethargic. Three officers eventually arrested the defendant after witnessing her operate her vehicle. At a probable cause hearing, the trial court determined that the bloodshot eyes alone and general fatigued demeanor, did not constitute probable cause.

Ruling: The Court of Appeals affirmed. At the hearing, the officer who had conducted the breath test had not been present. The only testimony was from two of the officers who had only presented cumulative evidence. The court found that the prosecution had not established that the defendant exhibited actual impairment. 

Robert H. Middlemiss for the appellant