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State v. Szambel

June 23, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ROBERT S. SZAMBEL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, Municipal Appeal No. 08-09.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued May 19, 2010

Before Judges Fisher and Sapp-Peterson.

Following denial of his two suppression motions, defendant entered a conditional plea to driving while intoxicated (DWI), N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. An additional offense charging defendant with refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a,*fn1 was dismissed. Defendant was sentenced to thirty days of community service, a two-year loss of his driver's license and registration privilege, and forty-eight hours attendance at an Intoxicated Driver's Resource Center. Fines and penalties were also imposed. The court stayed defendant's sentence pending a de novo appeal to the Law Division.

Following a de novo review of the record, the Law Division judge found that the State proved defendant was operating a vehicle at the time he was arrested for DWI. The court also found the arresting officer did not violate defendant's Miranda*fn2 rights by questioning him about the circumstances of the motor vehicle accident involving defendant and another motorist who left the scene of the accident. Finally, the Law Division judge was equally satisfied that the State proved that there was probable cause to arrest defendant for DWI. The Law Division judge sentenced defendant, imposing the same sentence previously imposed by the municipal court judge. The present appeal followed.

On appeal, defendant contends:

POINT I

THE STATE CANNOT MAKE A PRIMA FACI[E] SHOWING OF OPERATION - A NECESSARY ELEMENT OF PROOF IN [N.J.S.A.] 39:4-50.

POINT II

ANY STATEMENT REGARDING OPERATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN SUPPRESSED.

POINT III

THE OFFICER LACKED PROBABLE CAUSE TO ARREST [DEFENDANT].

We have carefully considered the points raised in light of the record and applicable legal principles and conclude they are without sufficient merit to warrant extensive discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We affirm substantially for the reasons expressed by Judge Francis R. Hodgson, Jr., ...


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