Responding to a report of an erratic driver, police found a person behind the wheel of their vehicle, with a beer in their hand, keys in the ignition and the engine warm. The driver admitted to drinking beer after he got to that location, but not before. The driver failed the filed sobriety tests, was arrested and convicted for DWI.
On appeal, the driver argued that the State failed to establish that he operated the vehicle while he was intoxicated, and the Court agreed, holding that the State failed to meet its burden of proof, because defendant's admission that he drank beer did not establish a timeline to show that he was intoxicated when he drove and the state produced no eyewitnesses to defendant's alleged erratic driving. Additionally, the trooper admitted that the warmth from the car engine might have been from defendant running the air conditioner while parked..
State v. Decicco App. Div. unreported