Does Simplified Traffic Information Considered Operation of Automobile in New York ?
In People v. Key (45 NY2d 111, 379 N.E.2d 1147, 408 N.Y.S.2d 16 ), the Court addressed whether a simplified traffic information sufficiently established the element of operation.
In Key, the information alleged that the officer observed the defendant "lying unconscious on the driver's side of the front seat of his automobile." (Id.)
The officer did not otherwise observe the defendant driving his vehicle, nor did the traffic ticket allege that the defendant was operating the automobile or that the engine was running. (Id.)
The Court held that the information failed to allege operation, and stated that "in this case, there was no allegation that defendant was operating his automobile or even that the engine was running, an allegation necessary to establish commission of the crime." (Id. at 116.)
In that case, the Court found an information charging driving under the influence of alcohol to be facially insufficient because there was no allegation that the defendant was operating the automobile or that the engine was running (Key, 45 N.Y.2d at 116).
However, the Court also held that the defect in the information was waived because the defendant waited until eight months after his arraignment, when the case was reached for trial, to move to dismiss the information (Id.).