Arguably, the public perceives drunk driving charges as something that only happens to irresponsible individuals or alcoholics. In reality, the majority of people charged with DWI hardly correspond to a generally conceived ‘archetype’ of ‘the type of person that gets charged with drunk driving.’ This charge can befall anyone: hard working business professionals, loving parents, the elderly and more. The latter in part is why at Tenn And Tenn, P.A., we understand why so many clients find it difficult to reconcile the idea that they’ve become ‘the type’ of person to get a DWI. We also know that for most of our clients, this moniker does not correspond with their personal image. The same may be said for a New Hampshire county attorney, who was recently charged with driving while intoxicated.
The Holiday Season: A Dangerous Time on American Roadways
The holidays bring with them a mood of merriment and leisure, as we begin to wind down and collect ourselves from a hectic year. Loved ones rejoin their families, eggnog and other libations flow freely, airports and highways seem to bust at the seams with swells of determined travelers. However, there are at least a few unfortunate side effects that occur when we combine these factors. The uptick in parties and festivities, accompanied by the increase in air and ground traffic, mean that our roadways become considerably more dangerous this time of year. Although the hazard of drinking and driving is prevalent on many other holidays (St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day), the relative concentration of holidays makes for a particularly dangerous stretch, beginning Thanksgiving weekend and ending New Years Day. This state of affairs often puts law enforcement on edge, with local news outlets around the country usually reporting that DUI patrols in their area are set to increase over the holiday season.
Holiday Drunk Driving Trends
New Hampshire, like all other states in the U.S., has an implied consent law that levies automatic penalties whenever someone refuses to take a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. In a 2005 survey, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had found that police requests for people suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) were refused at an astounding rate in New Hampshire. Updated statistics, however, show that New Hampshire’s refusal rate is on the decline, and is no longer top in the nation.
Study Finds New Hampshire No Longer Refuses BAC Tests the Most
Back in 2005, the NHTSA wrote a report to Congress, detailing the number of times that BAC tests were refused by drunk driving suspects on a state-by-state basis. Among the 37 states that provided data on the issue, the national average refusal rate was less than a quarter – 22.4%. New Hampshire’s refusal rate, however, was far higher than any other state recorded, coming in at a surprising 81%. The state with the second highest refusal rate, Massachusetts, was only 41%, with Florida in third, at 40%.
A surprising face appeared in Iowa court as a witness earlier this month in the case of Cheryl Bronson. Bronson was the victim of a drunk driving accident and has suffered a number of injuries. Bronson also happens to be the aunt of Olympic gymnast and ‘Dancing With The Stars’ champion Shawn Johnson, who appeared in court as a witness for the plaintiff, her aunt.
Bronson was once a golfer, and an Iowa Women’s pool champion in 2008, and due to her injuries is no longer able to participate in either of those activities. The incident caused her to suffer multiple fractures to her leg and although she has healed, she has had significant changes in her life. Bronson must now walk with a limp, has trouble walking, and has even had to move to a single story home. In addition to this, Bronson has 3 more surgeries planned for her injured leg in the future.
Anyone who has ever had a bit too much to drink is very familiar with the phenomenon known as the “hangover.” A hangover is a period of headaches, sickness, nausea, and general unpleasantness, that frequently follows a person’s consumption of a large amount of alcohol. Many people think that the impairment from a night of heavy drinking can simply be shrugged away the next morning, or “slept off.” For some this may be true, but it is incredibly rare that a person can drink heavily, sleep for a short time, and wake up the next morning completely ready to go. In fact, one study may suggest that driving with a hangover may be just as perilous as driving while intoxicated.
Driving While Hungover
It’s hard to imagine an officer of the law ever getting caught for breaking the law. Unfortunately, for one officer from the University of New Hampshire’s police department, that’s exactly what happened. One morning this past June, Diane Scott, a University security professional and former officer, found herself in a predicament. Early in the morning, an officer, Ron Taylor, received a call to investigate a car accident in Canterbury. What he found was his former colleague, Ms. Scott, lightly injured, but able to recognize him. Officer Taylor quickly saw all the signs of a DUI. Scott was reported to have a clear scent of alcohol, and difficulty standing up, swaying constantly during her conversation with the officer. It was then that officer Taylor made the arrest, much to Scott’s shock, surprise, and dismay. Scott is reported to have denied Taylor’s arrest in disbelief. After being treated for her injuries, Scott was reported to have refused a blood test when asked, and to have continued to refute her arrest.
Later on, it was revealed that Scott had gone to court for an arraignment. She pleaded nolo contendere to a Class B misdemeanor DUI charge. Her sentencing resulted in a fine of $500 and a license suspension of nine months. In addition to the fines from the plea, she will also likely face additional suspension time for her test refusal from the DMV.
What Does A Nolo Contendere Plea Mean?
Kensington, New Hampshire was recently the site of an early evening DWI-related accident. A Seabrook man ran his car off the road, through a stone wall, and into a utility pole, right in front of the Kensington Police Department headquarters. Police were on the scene immediately.
What they found on scene was one Joshua Tackett, age 29. Tackett only suffered minor injuries, although his car was badly damaged. No official details pertaining to Tackett’s blood alcohol content have been revealed, however, police say that the primary contributing factors to the accident were likely speed and alcohol. While Tackett’s blood alcohol content remains a mystery, a mugshot of a grinning Tackett sporting a shirt bearing the phrase “This Guy Needs A Beer” has appeared in several news stories online. He now faces charges for driving while intoxicated. He was later released on $750 bail. While Tackett’s shirt may have a humorous and ironic role in his tale, the DWI charges he faces are no laughing matter.
This Guy Needs An Attorney
DWI is a crime typically associated with alcohol. Alcohol is legal, readily available, and most of the time it is easily affordable. However, there are 6 states, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, that currently have specific legislation that imposes a “legal limit” on the amount of THC concentration present in a person’s bloodstream while driving, similar to the legal limit on a person’s blood alcohol concentration for a regular DWI. However, while this may seem like a good idea, a study from AAA Foundation for Safety shows that a legal limit cannot be scientifically justified. Basically, THC concentration cannot be used as a true method of testing someone’s degree of impairment, the way blood alcohol concentration can be.
The Current Laws
Currently, the laws that impose legal limits on THC concentration in a person’s bloodstream are based on arbitrary numbers that legislators developed based on alcohol limits. The truth of the matter is that measuring impairment of marijuana is not as clear cut as it is for alcohol. People often experience the drug differently. An avid user of the drug may be significantly less impaired by the drug than a first-time user. On top of this, because there are several ways to ingest the drug, the effects of the THC can manifest itself in several different ways. Some of these states have laws take into account trace amounts of THC, which can actually remain in a person’s body for several weeks. Essentially, these laws forbid marijuana users from ever driving at all, out of fear that trace amounts that are no longer active in their body will incriminate them when they are not even impaired.
St. Patrick’s Day Fun 2016: What Not To Do
Enjoying St. Patrick’s Day is always a blast in the state of New Hampshire. Many towns such as Manchester offer parades and festivities to celebrate the Irish culture, offering dancing, drinks and more. The 21st Annual Manchester St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be on Sunday, March 29th. When you plan on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, it can be fun to dress in all green, have a few beers and spend time with family and friends. However, there are aspects of the celebration that can have an unsafe affect, such as drinking and driving. Below are a few tips on what not to do as you celebrate the unique holiday.
Avoid Drinking Too Much
New Hampshire House Bill 1606 – Lowering the Drinking Age
When it comes to underage drinking, there are many lives lost each year due to alcohol poisoning or car accident related deaths in New Hampshire. One State Representative in New Hampshire is trying to change that. A new bill has been proposed to lower the drinking age and New Hampshire is not the only state considering this. Take a look at what the bill involves and why so many are behind it and its potential success rates.
What is House Bill 1606?