D.W.I.s on Quiet Weekend

East Hampton Town police charged two men over the holiday weekend with drunken driving, with one charge a felony. 

John Jara, 28, of East Hampton was behind the wheel of a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee headed south on Three Mile Harbor Road early on Easter morning when he swerved several times across the fog line, which marks the shoulder, and onto the shoulder, according to police, triggering a traffic stop. Mr. Jara appeared intoxicated to the arresting officer, and failed roadside sobriety tests. The charge against him is a felony because he had been convicted of the same charge as a misdemeanor within the past 10 years, in December of 2011.

At police headquarters, a breath test produced a reading of .09 of 1 percent alcohol in the blood, which is just over the .08 level that defines intoxication. He allegedly told the arresting officer that he had had one beer about a half-hour earlier. He was also charged with a second D.W.I., based on the alleged breath test results. In addition, Mr. Jara was charged with a moving violation, with police saying he had made an unsafe lane change. 

When taken to East Hampton Town Justice Court later that morning, he was represented by Carl Irace, an attorney provided by the county to handle weekend arraignments in East Hampton. The district attorney’s office had requested bail at $10,000, but Justice Steven Tekulsky said that given Mr. Jara’s strong ties to the community, he was going to set lower bail on the felony charges.

Mr. Irace questioned the strength of the case against Mr. Jara, focusing on the reason given by police for the stop, an illegal lane change. “The case law is clear that crossing of a solid white line is discouraged, but not prohibited,” Mr. Irace said after the arraignment. Mr. Irace told Justice Tekulsky that Mr. Jara’s mother was in the courtroom, that he is gainfully employed, and that he had never missed a court date during a prior D.W.I. case. He told the judge that Mr. Jara’s mother would be able to put up between $1,500 and $2,000. Justice Tekulsky agreed to the latter as bail, which was posted.

Any challenge of the grounds for the traffic stop will not be pursued by Mr. Irace: As part of the weekend lawyer program, he is barred from taking on arraignment defendants as clients except in rare circumstances. 

A Brooklyn man who a owns a house in Springs was charged with drunken driving as a misdemeanor after being arrested minutes before midnight on Friday. Maxwell J. Ryan, 51, was driving a 2017 Volvo north on Springs-Fireplace Road near Spinner Lane. According to the arresting officer, Mr. Ryan swerved across double yellow lines and into the southbound lane. He, too, failed roadside sobriety tests, police said. At headquarters, his breath test resulted in an alleged reading of .11. 

Mr. Ryan told Justice Tekulsky that he had recently moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Justice Tekulsky warned that his driver’s license still had his Manhattan address on it, and that he needed to update it. Mr. Ryan said he was in the process of doing so. Citing Mr. Ryan’s ownership of a business in Manhattan, the fact that he owns a house in the Town of East Hampton, and that this was apparently his first arrest, Justice Tekulsky released him without bail but with a future date on the court’s criminal calendar.