The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. James R. TOMPKINS, Appellant.
Appeal by defendant from a judgment of the Justice Court, Town of Philipstown, Putnam County (S. Tomann, J.), rendered October 7, 2003, convicting him of driving with excessively tinted side windows (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 375 [12-a] [b] ) and imposing sentence.
Judgment of conviction unanimously reversed on the law and as a matter of discretion in the interest of justice, accusatory instrument dismissed and fine, if paid, remitted.
Defendant was charged with driving a vehicle which had excessively tinted side windows (see Vehicle and Traffic Law § 375 [12-a] [b] ). At trial, the officer testified that he estimated that the windows only permitted about 15% light transmittance. Although such a percentage of light transmittance is below the legal threshold (id.), the officer did not establish that he possessed any experience in visually determining the amount of light transmitted through a window, or some other satisfactory reason or basis, such as a “tint-meter,” for his opinion. As a result, the evidence was legally insufficient to establish the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (cf. People v. Olsen, 22 N.Y.2d 230, 292 N.Y.S.2d 420, 239 N.E.2d 354  ). Although defendant did not properly preserve his objection to the sufficiency of the evidence, we nevertheless review it in the exercise of our interest of justice jurisdiction (see CPL 470.15[a] ).
Consequently, we do not pass on defendant's remaining contentions.