Mr. Corletta obtained an outright dismissal of a baseless alcohol-related charge in People v. E.A. (Greece Tn. Ct., 9/24/18).
In that case, Mr. Corletta's client, a bartender at a popular local tavern, was approached by police cruising the parking lot at 2:30 P.M. while seated in their vehicle.
The vehicle was not moving. The client was texting a friend while the vehicle was stationary in the parking lot. The officer approached and inquired what the client was doing. The client responded they were texting a friend. The officer claimed he “smelled alcohol” and demanded that client submit to a Preliminary Breath Test designed to determine the presence of alcohol, even though the client was merely sitting in a parked vehicle. The client refused and was issued a citation for refusing to submit, which would count as an alcohol-related incident under New York State Regulations.
Reviewing the facts, Mr. Corletta immediately filed a Motion to Dismiss; noting the statute required commission of a traffic violation or accident before such a request could be made and, neither occurred in this case. Essentially, the police approached the client's vehicle and demanded a breath test without any legal or statutory basis to do so.
The Prosecutor, knowing Mr. Corletta was correct on the law, did not oppose the Motion. The charge was dismissed without opposition, thereby resulting in a substantial benefit to the client. Many would have simply pled guilty and later may have suffered unforeseen consequences due to subsequent changes in the law. For this client, a professional, it was best not to have something like this on their driving record.