Missing Plate Leads to Felony DUI Charge

NEWPORT CITY – Not having a front license plate on his pickup truck left a Newport Center man facing a felony charge of driving under the influence. Dale Chaput, 42, pleaded not guilty in Orleans County Court Jan. 10, to a felony charge of third offense driving while intoxicated.Newport City Police Officer Corey Marcoux was watching traffic Dec. 24, 2011, when he saw a pickup truck without a front license plate traveling west by the intersection of East Main Street and Western Avenue. Marcoux followed the truck but, because of the traffic, didn’t get directly behind it until the intersection of Main Street and Lake Road. Marcoux continue to follow the truck and reported observing the vehicle travel onto the yellow line four or five times. Near the City Farm Road, the truck crossed the yellow line into the opposing lane of traffic. Marcoux turned on his blue emergency lights and stopped the truck. Marcoux asked the driver, Chaput, if Chaput knew why Marcoux had stopped him, to which Chaput replied that he’s required to have a front license plate. Marcoux said Chaput was able to immediately provide his registration and insurance card but appeared confused and looked at his insurance card for a period of time. Moments later, after Marcoux asked again, Chaput provided his operator’s license. Marcoux reported that Chaput mumbled, appeared confused and had watery eyes. When asked, Chaput said that he had consumed three 12-ounce cans of beer and that be believed he started drinking three hours prior to being stopped. Chaput agreed to field sobriety exercises.Prior to Chaput exiting the vehicle, he asked Marcoux if he wanted it in park. Marcoux told Chaput the vehicle was already in park, but Chaput attempted to shift into park anyway. Marcoux also smelled intoxicants on Chaput’s breath. Chaput got out of his vehicle and told Marcoux that he, Chaput, had a problem with his knees but could still do the sobriety text.At the police station, Chaput told Marcoux that he started drinking at 2 p.m., consumed three 12-ounce cans of beer and believed he had stopped drinking 45 minutes before police stopped him. Chaput also told police that he sipped the beers and didn’t "slam" them. At the police station, Chaput’s BAC was 0.138 percent. If convicted, Chaput faces not more than five years in prison or a fine of not more than $2,500 or both. According to court documents, at least 96 consecutive hours of sentence of imprisonment shall be served in prison and may not be suspended or deferred or served as a supervised sentence.