Articles Tagged with NH DUI Lawyers

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The Controversy of DWI Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints are the bane of many drivers. While a given checkpoint may result in a handful of DWI arrests, if any, it is largely regarded as a nuisance that takes time out of the evenings of sober, often embittered drivers. Debates have arisen over the legality of citizens forewarning each other about checkpoints, with the general consensus being that it is not illegal to post information about the location of a checkpoint or warn fellow drivers.sobrietycheckpoint1

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Underage DWI in New Hampshire/DUI Under 21

Our New Hampshire DWI Lawyers have spent more than 20 years defending drivers accused of drunk or impaired driving.  Many of those drivers were under the age of 21, and as such, faced enhanced and harsh penalties for underage DWI.  Underage driving while impaired applies to persons under the age of 21 at the time of the alleged offense.  In NH, drivers under 21 who are convicted of a NH DWI face a lengthy license loss, hefty fines, and a criminal record, among other penalties.  Defending drunk driving cases for young adults requires a deep understanding of the law, the pharmacokinetics of alcohol and the effects on the human body, and the special penalties that apply to younger drivers.

Drivers under 21 who are charged with a NH DWI should be prepared to vigorously defend against the charge.  In New Hampshire, prima facia evidence of impairment is .02% blood alcohol content.  As such, to prove their case prosecutors have a very low burden in an underage DWI.  If convicted, New Hampshire law imposes enhanced court sentences, along with administrative license suspensions by the Department of Safety.

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As NH DUI Lawyers, we are often asked by clients if the police mishandled the DUI arrest by not reading them their Miranda rights.   “Miranda” rights, as they are popularly known, stem from the United States Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona.  In New Hampshire, Miranda applies to interrogations when a person has been arrested or taken into custody.  As such, Miranda applies after you have been arrested and the officer continues to interrogate you.

mrianda (1)During the typical police encounter for a possible DUI, our local courts have ruled that the questions asked by police on the side of the road during their investigation are permissible custodial interrogations for Miranda purposes. As such, the police are under no obligation to advise you of your rights.  In the typical DUI arrest, roadside field sobriety tests are non-verbal statements and are also not covered by Miranda.  Because pre-arrest questions do not require Miranda, police officers are trained to obtain as much information as possible prior to placing you under arrest.

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NH Man Crashes into Tree and Injures Daughter– DWI #3

As recently reported in the Manchester Union Leader, a Rochester New Hampshire man with 2 previous DWI convictions was recently involved in a motor vehicle crash wherein his 9 year old daughter was severely injured. According to the Deerfield NH Police, the 29 year old man reported that he swerved to avoid a deer and crashed into a tree. His young daughter was trapped inside the vehicle for approximately 30 minutes while fire and rescue teams extricated her. The driver was arrested and charged with DWI subsequent, his 3rd offense in NH.

For the past 20 years, the NH DUI lawyers at Tenn And Tenn, PA have been helping individuals charged with DWI in New Hampshire. Oftentimes, good people make a poor decision to drink and drive. Most clients are so scared by the potential first- offense penalties, that they vow never to put themselves at risk again. Educating our clients about the criminal process helps to minimize recidivism and prevent future Drunk Driving behavior.

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A driver who is convicted of certain traffic or criminal violations may be designated a “habitual offender” by the Division of Motor Vehicles. Being put on “habitual offender” status may result in losing one’s license for up to four (4) additional years. Anyone charged with DWI must carefully consider the possibility of being certified as a Habitual Offender.

The list of convictions that may trigger habitual offender certification is long, and it includes several drunk-driving-related convictions. These include driving under the influence of drugs or liquor (DUI) and aggravated driving while intoxicated (DWI), as well as several offenses that might be connected to a DUI/DWI in certain cases, such as reckless driving. If a driver is convicted of at least three of these offenses, he or she may be certified a “habitual offender.”

Several less-serious convictions can also result in a habitual offender designation if a driver receives twelve or more convictions for them. While these convictions may apply to drivers who are sober, they may also apply in certain DWI cases, depending on the facts. These convictions include illegally crossing solid lines on highways, speeding, not meeting New Hampshire license requirements, and failing to provide an SR-22 proof of insurance when required. An SR-22 is frequently required after a DUI conviction, so drivers who have been convicted of one of these offenses are at risk of another conviction if they don’t provide the required SR-22.

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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 “probable cause.” 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.

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By the time a New Hampshire police officer tells a driver it’s time for a breath test, the officer has already been watching the driver for some time. Police officers are trained to look for and remember clues that indicate a driver is intoxicated. Often, a police officer will require the driver to perform one or more NH field sobriety tests, such as a one-leg stand or a walk-and-turn test, before administering a breath test.

Preliminary breath testing gives a police officer an approximate reading of the driver’s blood alcohol concentration, or BAC. In New Hampshire, driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher is illegal and usually results in a DUI arrest. What the breath test does not do, however, is tell the officer how impaired the driver is. The same amount of alcohol may cause a great deal of impairment or very little, depending on the driver’s size, whether the driver has had anything to eat, the driver’s personal tolerance of alcohol, as well as other factors. Drivers who are asked to perform a preliminary breath test in New Hampshire face penalties if they refuse. Even if the driver consents, however, a breath test must be performed correctly in order to be accurate.

Experienced New Hampshire drunk driving attorneys like those at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. know what to look for in the events that surround a driver’s arrest. We will review the details of your case thoroughly and fight to win the best possible outcome. For a free and confidential case evaluation, call Tenn And Tenn, P.A. today at 1-888-511-1010.