Although Court of Appeals

Maryland v Pringle, 157 L Ed 2d 769, 124 S Ct 795, December 15 (§ 3. 8 n. 79. 1-. 7): finding cocaine in a car was probable cause to believe that those associated with it were jointly in possession of it; therefore, the arrest of Pringle, a front seat passenger, for joint possession of cocaine hidden behind a back seat armrest was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. (CPL 100. 40 [1] [c]; People v Alejandro, 70 NY2d 133, 135 [1987]; People v Hall, 48 NY2d 927 [1979]).

Conclusory allegations are insufficient (People v Dumas, 68 NY2d 729 [1986]). Penal Law § 195. 05 provides, in pertinent part, that "a person is guilty of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree when he intentionally obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from performing an official function, by means of intimidation, physical force or interference, or by means of any independently unlawful act… "

The allegation that the police officer observed the defendant in the front seat of an operating motor vehicle not wearing a safety belt gives this court reason to believe that the officer was performing an official function, namely, monitoring vehicles for traffic infractions. Therefore, the issue is whether the defendant violated the statute when she: (a) refused to provide the officer with identification after being stopped for a traffic infraction, (b) spoke harshly to the officer, or (c) refused to be photographed or fingerprinted after her arrest.

To be considered a violation, her actions had to either constitute an obstruction, impairment or perversion of the [*2]administration of law, or her actions had to prevent the officer from performing an official function by means of intimidation, physical force, interference, or an independent unlawful act. The court holds that neither the defendant's refusal to provide the officer with identification nor her statement to the officer constituted obstruction of governmental administration as a matter of law.

Instead, the facts here are akin to People v Offen (96 Misc 2d 147 [Crim Ct, NY County 1978]), cited with approval by the Court of Appeals in In re Davan L. (91 NY2d 88 [1997]). In Offen, police officers observed the defendant littering on the sidewalk. When an officer informed the defendant that he would receive a summons, the defendant ignored the officer's demand for identification, a prerequisite to the summons process, and replied "go f**k yourself" (Offen, 96 Misc 2d at 148, 149).

The defendant then fled into a store, locked the door, and refused to allow the officers to enter (id. at 149). The court dismissed the obstructing governmental administration charge, holding that the defendant's refusal to provide identification and his subsequent refusal to open the door to the officers was not a crime (id. at 150). Similarly, defendant's refusal to identify herself when stopped for a traffic infraction, accompanied by her vulgar statement, did not rise to the level of obstruction. New York's "stop and identify" statute, CPL 140.

50 (1), applies only to persons suspected of committing felonies or misdemeanors, and not traffic infractions (see Hiibel v Sixth Judicial District of Nevada, __ US __, 2004 U. S. Lexis 4385 [June 21, 2004] [sustaining Nevada's "stop and identify" statute]). Had the defendant cooperated with the officer and provided her identification, the officer would likely have issued her a traffic summons without arresting her. The defendant's refusal to identify herself made it necessary for the officer to arrest her and take her into custody in order to ascertain her identity.

It is constitutionally permissible to take a defendant into custody after a traffic infraction (see Atwater v City of Lago Vista, 532 US 318 [2001]). Although our Court of Appeals has held that custodial arrests should not be made for traffic violations where a summons can be issued instead (People v Howell, 49 NY2d 778 [1980]), when a defendant refuses to supply identification to a police officer, a custodial arrest in lieu of a summons is proper (see People v Rodriguez, NYLJ, June 21, 2002, at 20 [Crim Ct, NY County, Harris, J.]; see also People v Copeland, 39 NY2d 986 [1976] [holding it was proper to arrest a motorist who did not produce a driver's license upon being requested to do so by the police officer]).

Further, even if the defendant's coarse statement exceeded the bounds of polite discourse, it did not constitute obstructing governmental administration because mere words alone do not satisfy the requirement of an intimidating, unlawful, or interfering physical act as mandated by the statute (In re Davan L. , 91 NY2d at 90; People v Case, 42 NY2d 98, 102 [1977]).