Each year in New Hampshire, drivers are pulled over because an officer believes the driver just broke a traffic rule or has another vehicle violation, like an expired license plate or a broken tail light. Even though the officer did not pull the driver over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), the driver still finds himself on the receiving end of DUI charges. How does this happen?
In order to arrest a driver on suspicion of drunk driving in New Hampshire, a police officer must have what is known as â€œprobable cause.â€ Probable cause is more than a mere hunch that the driver has been drinking; it must be based on some observable evidence. This evidence can be gathered at any time during the traffic stop.
Even though an officer may pull a driver over for a violation like running a stop sign or having broken headlights, the officer is always looking for signs of other possible criminal behavior. This means that an officer may also be looking for signs of intoxication. Detecting drunk drivers in NH involves various tell-tale symptoms, including slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, or difficulty doing multiple things at once, like finding a driver’s license in your wallet while also telling the officer your name. An officer who sees any of the signs that can indicate drunk driving may order the driver to perform one or more field sobriety tests or take a breath test, even if the original reason the officer pulled the driver over had nothing to do with possible impaired driving.