PEOPLE v. SINES

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The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Rudolph S. SINES, Appellant.

Decided: June 11, 2015

Before LAHTINEN, J.P., GARRY, EGAN JR. and ROSE, JJ. Bruce R. Bryan, Syracuse, for appellant. Gerald F. Mollen, Binghamton (David M. Petrush of counsel), for respondent.

Appeal from a judgment of the County Court of Broome County (Cawley Jr., J.), rendered July 13, 2011, upon a verdict convicting defendant of the crimes of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree and driving while ability impaired.

Defendant was convicted by a jury of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree and driving while ability impaired stemming from his arrest in September 2009 in the Town of Chenango, Broome County. He was sentenced to an aggregate prison term of 1 to 3 years and now appeals.

Defendant asserts that his conviction for driving while ability impaired was not supported by legally sufficient evidence and was against the weight of the evidence. To meet their burden, the People were required to prove that defendant's driving was impaired to some extent due to the consumption of alcohol (see Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192[1]; People v. McDonald, 27 AD3d 949, 950 [2006] ). At trial, the arresting officer testified that he pulled defendant over after observing that he made a turn without signaling and was swerving within his lane of travel. Upon approaching the vehicle and requesting defendant's paperwork, the officer detected the odor of alcohol emanating from inside and observed that defendant had slurred speech and was behaving in a lethargic manner. Defendant initially refused to comply with the officer's instructions and, instead, attempted to place a call on his cellular phone. Thereafter, when attempting to comply with a second officer's demand that he exit the vehicle, defendant nearly fell and required the assistance of both officers to remain standing. The officers each testified that, once out of the vehicle, defendant appeared unsteady and off balance and that they were able to identify the odor of alcohol on his breath. Defendant refused to submit to field sobriety tests or a breath test. He gave no response to the majority of the officers' questions, including whether he suffered from any medical conditions or a lack of sleep.

Upon review, we find that the testimony recounting defendant's erratic driving, the odor of alcohol on his breath and other indicia of impairment “was legally sufficient to permit a rational trier of fact to conclude-based upon reasonable, permissible inferences-that defendant had consumed alcohol and that all the elements of the traffic infraction of driving while [his] ability was impaired by alcohol were established beyond a reasonable doubt” (People v. Crandall, 287 A.D.2d 881, 882 [2001], lv denied 97 N.Y.2d 703 [2002]; see People v. McDonald, 27 AD3d at 950; People v. Lizzio, 178 A.D.2d 741, 742 [1991], lv denied 79 N.Y.2d 921 [1992] ). Moreover, viewing the evidence in a neutral light, we are also satisfied that the verdict was in accord with the weight of the evidence (see People v. Taylor, 104 AD3d 603, 604 [2013], lv denied 21 NY3d 947 [2013]; People v. Pierce, 268 A.D.2d 883 [2000], lv denied 94 N.Y.2d 924 [2000]; People v. Gelster, 256 A.D.2d 1133, 1133 [1998] ). In light of this determination, we need not address defendant's remaining contention.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.

GARRY, J.

LAHTINEN, J.P., EGAN JR. and ROSE, JJ., concur.

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