Articles Tagged with portsmouth sobriety checkpoint

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New Hampshire police set up a sobriety checkpoint on Main Street in Keene this past weekend. The checkpoint resulted in the arrest of nine New Hampshire drivers on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), according to a report in the Union-Leader.

The NH sobriety checkpoint in Keene was conducted as part of the increased efforts in New Hampshire and other states to prevent drunk or drugged driving by increasing enforcement of state and federal DUI laws. States banded together to create more sobriety checkpoints and put more officers on patrol over this past Labor Day weekend, because past studies have shown there are more injury-causing crashes involving drunk drivers during the summer holidays.

Now that Labor Day weekend is over, however, New Hampshire police are not letting their guard down when it comes to running sobriety checkpoints. Portsmouth police have planned to set up a sobriety checkpoint this weekend, September 9-11.

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On July 16, the Portsmouth police held a checkpoint on the Spalding Turnpike, reports The Portsmouth Patch. The purpose of the sobriety checkpoint was to stop drivers temporarily so that police could examine them for signs of alcohol or drug intoxication. Even though police stopped over three hundred cars, however, the night’s arrests on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) amounted to zero, as not a single person was arrested at the New Hampshire DUI checkpoint.

Portsmouth police stopped 339 drivers at the checkpoint during the three and a half hours it was set up. Not one of the drivers whom police talked to at the checkpoint appeared to be intoxicated in any way, according to the Portsmouth Police Department.

Police who run sobriety checkpoints in NH often have special training in how to look for subtle clues that might indicate a person is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Some of these signs include a smell of alcohol, slurred speech, poor motor coordination, or an inability to respond to multiple questions or commands at once. If an officer at a sobriety checkpoint suspects a driver may be intoxicated, the officer may have the driver perform one or more field sobriety tests, such as walking a straight line heel-to-toe or standing on one foot.

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The Portsmouth city police announced recently that the sobriety checkpoint that had been scheduled for June 27 was being rescheduled for the weekend of July 16, according to a recent news report from the Seacoast Online. The checkpoint was canceled in June because of thunderstorms.

City police will work together with troopers from the New Hampshire Highway Patrol to stop cars at the checkpoint and speak to each driver. Police are looking for signs that drivers may be driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Increased police patrols will also be driving around the Seacoast area during the weekend, watching drivers for signs that they may not have their vehicles under proper control, which may lead to a traffic stop and an examination for signs of inebriation.

The sobriety checkpoint and additional patrols are being funded by a grant from the state Department of Highway Safety to the Portsmouth Police Department. Although the New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled that sobriety checkpoints are legal, state law requires police departments to seek approval for a checkpoint from the New Hampshire Superior Court before initiating one.