Articles Tagged with new hampshire dwi defense lawyers

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If you’ve been arrested and charged with DWI, one of the biggest dilemmas you will likely face is whether to tell your employer about it–and if so, what you should say. Are you required to tell your boss about the DWI? Could you lose your job over it? The answers to these questions may depend on your situation and circumstances, so let’s dive a bit deeper.

When Are You Required to Disclose a DWI to Your Employer?Tenn-boss-249x300

To be clear, there is no law on the books that explicitly requires you to report a DWI to your current employer—and in fact, the law places some limits on what an employer may ask about your criminal record. However, there are a few exceptions in which you must disclose a DWI to your boss. For example:

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Like many U.S. states, New Hampshire is an “implied consent” state. This means that, by accepting a New Hampshire driver’s license, drivers have automatically agreed to take a chemical test for blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, whenever an officer requests one. The most common chemical test asked for is a breath test, but blood tests and urine tests may also be required in certain circumstances.

Before administering a chemical test, an officer will usually read a driver a form that explains the implied consent law and the penalties the driver will face for refusing the test. These penalties include an automatic administrative license suspension (ALS) by the division of motor vehicles, which can last for up to two (2) years. If the driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, this suspension is in addition to any license suspension that a court may order if the driver is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI).

In New Hampshire, drivers do not have the option to refuse one type of BAC test but agree to another. For instance, a driver who refuses to take a breath test is assumed to be refusing to obey the New Hampshire implied consent law, even if that same driver would agree to a blood test. New Hampshire courts have also held that a driver cannot refuse to take a second test if the testing equipment fails the first time. For instance, a driver who agrees to take a breath test, only to find out the officer’s breath-testing machine is broken, may still face an ALS suspension if the driver refuses to travel to the nearest police station with the officer to take a breath test on working equipment.

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In New Hampshire and many other U.S. states, a police officer who stops a driver on suspicion of drunk driving may ask the driver to take a preliminary breath test using a Breathalyzer or similar device. The breath test measures the driver’s blood alcohol concentration, or BAC. A BAC reading of 0.08 percent often results in drunk driving charges, even though an improperly given breath test may state a driver’s BAC is above 0.08 percent even when it is not.

For example, if the driver has any residual alcohol in his or her mouth, the breath test may read this alcohol instead of what is in the driver’s blood, which can cause a falsely high reading. Alcoholic drinks aren’t the only sources of alcohol: some cough syrups, breath sprays, and similar products contain enough alcohol to trick a breath test device into giving a falsely high reading.

Also, certain contaminants will cause an incorrectly high breath test reading, even if they do not contain alcohol. Chemicals like ether, chloroform, acetone, and chemicals in some kinds of cigarette smoke may be read as alcohol by a breath test machine, resulting in a higher BAC result than the driver actually has.

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Being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) carries heavy penalties in New Hampshire. When an accident involving injury occurs, however, a conviction or court case related to those injuries can make the burden of a New Hampshire drunk driving conviction even more onerous. However, New Hampshire law extends liability for drunk-driving-related accidents to those who serve alcohol as well.

These laws, known as “dram shop laws,” allow a New Hampshire resident who is injured in a drunk driving accident to seek compensation from the establishment that provided the drinks. This includes those who are convicted of drunk driving after an accident that causes injury and/or property damages. Under New Hampshire law, bars, restaurants and other establishments that serve alcohol are expected to pay attention to those to whom they are serving alcohol. If the patron appears to be intoxicated, the establishment is required to stop serving, or to refuse to serve, that person.

This cutoff requirement protects New Hampshire bar- and restaurant-goers from the dangers of too much drinking, and allows them a valuable stretch of time to recover their senses so they can drive home safely. The dram shop law helps enforce this responsibility by allowing injured persons, including those accused or convicted of drunk driving, to sue alcohol providers.

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New Hampshire police officers are trained to observe other drivers on the road for signs that motorists are operating while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or while intoxicated (DWI). One of the main indications that police officers look for is a driver’s inability to use “divided attention” skills.

The phrase “divided attention” simply describes the ability to do more than one task at a time. Drivers have to be able to pay attention to many things at once, such as the speed of the vehicle, the distance between their car and the one in front of them, the presence of any hazards such as barriers or pedestrians, and the directions given by street signs and traffic signals.

Alcohol consumption can make dividing attention more difficult. Intoxicated drivers will often focus on only one thing on the road and ignore all the others, no matter how important they are. For instance, an intoxicated driver may focus on the taillights of the car ahead and forget to notice or respond to a changing traffic light.

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