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Judge in Hackensack upholds River Vale DWI conviction

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

ANOTHER CVP SCOOP: A man who was arrested by the River Vale police chief for drunk driving at three times the legal limit was sent directly to the Bergen County Jail this afternoon after his third DWI conviction was upheld by Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma.

Ryan Pospisil, who reportedly told police at the scene he went to the liquor store because “I was out and there was a storm coming,” appealed his conviction in River Vale Municipal Court to Roma for the Dec. 29, 2012 arrest.

Roma found Pospisil guilty and remanded him to jail for 180 days, as required by state law.

Roma ruled that Chief Michael McCann was justified in stopping Pospisil ( above ) outside a shopping center, that Pospisil’s “Alcotest” results are admissible, and that he was fully advised of the consequences of refusing to provide a breath sample.

McCann, who retired last fall, testified in the original case that he saw Pospisil in the Ridgemont Shopping Center walking in a “staggering, slow and unsteady manner.”

Pospisil went into a liquor store, came out, got in his car and drove to the exit, the chief said.

After using his left turn signal, he “abruptly turned right, taking such a wide angle he entered oncoming traffic and almost caused a traffic collision,” McCann testified.

He then drove to the next shopping center and walked into another liquor store, the chief said.

At that point, McCann said, he waited for Pospisil at his car.

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STORY: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

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A township police arrived and took over. He, too, said he noticed alcohol on Pospisil’s breath, and said he had bloodshot, droopy eyes and slurred speech. Pospisil told the officers when asked that he drank a “fruit box of wine.”

The sergeant only had Pospisil perform the “alphabet” test because there was about an inch of snow on the ground.

However, a blood alcohol test showed his alcohol content was .25%, more than three times the legal limit of .08%.

Taking the points individually:

Roma ruled that the police chief had a reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle, based on his observations. Reasonable suspicion requires a less stringent standard than the probable cause required to make an arrest, but it is enough to justify a motor vehicle stop, the judge found.

Although Pospisil challenged the Alcotest because there were no serial numbers provided for temperature probes, Roma said there was enough “subjective evidence” to convict him.

The judge also said that Pospisil “was accurately and completely advised of the consequences of refusing to submit to breath test.”

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