Judge Elizabeth N. Warin

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Lawrence, charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, moved for dismissal of the accusatory instrument for facial insufficiency. The complaint alleged an officer observed Lawrence sitting in the driver’s seat of a car, exit and stand by the vehicle. Lawrence’s vehicle had scratches on it, and a car parked next to his also had scratches on it. An officer asserted the scratches were “consistent with an accident.” It was alleged Lawrence exhibited signs of intoxication, but he argued the complaint was facially insufficient as there were no factual allegations providing reasonable cause to believe he operated a motor vehicle. The court agreed noting there was no witness too Lawrence driving, nor an admission by him of same, but the element of operation can be inferred through circumstantial evidence. Yet, the sole allegations presented, standing alone, without indications the engine was running or a collision occurred while Lawrence was driving his car or was intoxicated, were insufficient for the court to find it reasonably likely that Lawrence was operating his car at the time of the charged offenses. Thus, the mere fact Lawrence was sitting in his car intoxicated parked next to a car with scratches was facially insufficient, and dismissal was granted.

Judge Elizabeth N. Warin

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Lawrence, charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, moved for dismissal of the accusatory instrument for facial insufficiency. The complaint alleged an officer observed Lawrence sitting in the driver’s seat of a car, exit and stand by the vehicle. Lawrence’s vehicle had scratches on it, and a car parked next to his also had scratches on it. An officer asserted the scratches were “consistent with an accident.” It was alleged Lawrence exhibited signs of intoxication, but he argued the complaint was facially insufficient as there were no factual allegations providing reasonable cause to believe he operated a motor vehicle. The court agreed noting there was no witness too Lawrence driving, nor an admission by him of same, but the element of operation can be inferred through circumstantial evidence. Yet, the sole allegations presented, standing alone, without indications the engine was running or a collision occurred while Lawrence was driving his car or was intoxicated, were insufficient for the court to find it reasonably likely that Lawrence was operating his car at the time of the charged offenses. Thus, the mere fact Lawrence was sitting in his car intoxicated parked next to a car with scratches was facially insufficient, and dismissal was granted.