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New Hampshire DUI Blog - NH DWI GUY Attorney Dan Hynes

Welcome to my blog. I will try to give updates about important information, cases, and laws related to DWI/DUI throughout New Hampshire and the rest of the Country. Please note DWI laws are constantly changing. Speak with a qualified Attorney to understand how the law may apply to you.

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Recent blog posts

Could Increasing Taxes on Alcohol Reduce the Amount of Alcohol Related Accidents?

The American Journal of Public Health recently published a new study that suggests increasing the taxes on alcohol could potentially reduce the number of alcohol related accidents.

University of Florida researchers examined the results of a 2009 tax increase on beer and spirits in Illinois. Over the course of the year, the state increased its taxes on wine by 66 cents a gallon and on beer by 4.6 cents per gallon. For distilled spirits, the tax increase amounted to $4.05 per gallon.

According to UF researchers, the number of alcohol related fatalities in the state of Illinois dropped by 26%. This surprising decrease was most notable among young adults at 37%. Fatal accidents involving driving while intoxicated and extremely intoxicated motorists declined by 22% and 25% respectively.

Alexander Wagenaar, a professor in the University of Florida’s Department of Health Outcomes and Policy, postulated that similar tax increases on alcohol related products could prevent thousands of accidents and hundreds of deaths each year if they were to be implemented nationwide. He contends that, if politicians wish to effectively address the issue of intoxicated motorists on the roads, then the trend of allowing inflation to erode alcohol taxes must be reversed.

Wagenaar’s theory mirror the study’s observations that alcohol has become more affordable in recent years due to a significant decrease in alcohol tax rates. The study concluded that an individual who had an average of 10 drinks each day would spend more than half of their disposable income on alcohol in 1950. However, in modern times, a person who had 10 or more alcoholic drinks each day would only spend 3% of their disposable income on alcohol.

According to Wagenaar, this violates many economists’ conventional wisdom that heavy drinkers do not respond to tax changes. Instead, he believes that it demonstrates powerful implications for how states can ensure their communities’ safety.

However, there are some who question if the situation demonstrates a true cause and effect relationship.

David Ozgo, a vice president for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, poses the same question. Ozgo states that fatal alcohol related accidents in Illinois were already on the decline for the new tax hikes were implemented.

In a press conference, he released the following statement:

“In fact, the largest annual decline over the last eight years occurred in 2008, the year before the tax rate changed. Importantly, Illinois alcohol-related traffic fatalities declined faster than the national average before the tax increase and this has not been the case since the tax increase.”

His observations do make us wonder if the tax increase is really the driving factor behind Illinois’ decrease in DWI related fatalities. Consider the average abuser of alcohol. Is a trivial increase in alcohol taxes capable of stopping him or her from purchasing alcohol? Will it prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking?

If you have been arrested and charged with a DWI in the Commonwealth of New Hampshire, then you need to have an experienced NH DWI lawyer on your side. Contact our offices today to schedule a consultation.

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Can You Get a DWI If You’re Sleeping In a Parked Car?

Yes. The state must prove control or operation of a motor vehicle.

It is a common misconception among New Hampshire motorists and the legal community that police officers must first observe a suspect driving an automobile in order for he or she to be convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI). However, in the Commonwealth of New Hampshire, a person does not have to be “driving” in order to be convicted of a DWI.

Although New Hampshire state law dictates that a prosecutor must prove both intoxication and operation in order to sustain a DWI, the NH courts have created a broad definition for the term “operation”. The New Hampshire Supreme Court has addressed multiple cases in which no driving was actually observed. In only a handful of these cases has “operation” not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. According to the standards set forth by the NH Supreme Court, the state is only required to prove that the defendant intended to operate a vehicle while in an intoxicated state or operated the automobile prior while in a state of intoxication. Evidence that the automobile was set into motion is not a required element for a conviction.

Even a person who is sound asleep in a parked vehicle can be convicted of a DWI.

If you have had too much to drink and do decide to sleep it off in your vehicle, here are a few suggestions that could prevent you from being convicted of a DWI:

1.       Park in a space that is designated solely for parking (e.g. a road where parking is permitted or a parking space). Do not park on the shoulder of a major highway or interstate.

 

2.       Turn off your automobile and remove your keys from the ignition. Do not turn your vehicle’s engine back on under any circumstances. If you start to develop frostbite, then you’ll need to decide if your toes or your driver’s license.

 

3.       Do not sleep it off in your driver’s seat. Move to your front passenger seat or even your backseat.

 

4.       If you are approached and questioned by a law enforcement official, do not make any admissions or statements of future intent to driving.

 

5.       Keep a few empty beer cans in the trunk of your car. The “glove box defense” enables an NH DWI attorney to create doubt as to whether the motorist became intoxicated before or after the automobile was parked. It is preferable to be convicted of consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle rather than a DWI. A conviction for the former is not accompanied by a loss of driving privileges.

 

6.       If you have designated a driver, don’t slobber all over him or her, causing them to leave you alone in your vehicle. Make sure that they will be willing to testify on your behalf at your DWI trial.

 

If you follow all of the aforementioned suggestions, you will likely still be arrested for driving while intoxicated if a police officer stumbles upon you, but it will make it much simpler for an experienced New Hampshire DWI lawyer to win at trial. Most importantly, remember to drink responsibly and to drive responsibly.

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Breathalyzers: Why Aren’t They Effective at Measuring BAC Levels?

If you are facing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge in New Hampshire, you will have had (unless you specifically refused) some sort of chemical test to determine your BAC (blood alcohol content) levels. The majority of cases will have used a Breathalyzer machine to conduct the test. When you appear in a New Hampshire court, you will discover that you have been charged with two criminal offenses, instead of the one you expected.

The first offense will be what is referred to as a “per se” offense: operating a motor vehicle while your BAC levels were .08% or higher. No one really cares whether or not you were intoxicated. All of the evidence could point to sobriety: the crime was not your condition, but your chemical composition. A machine provides the sole source of evidence upon which you will acquitted or convicted.

The second offense you will be charged with is driving while intoxicated. In each instance, a prosecutor will “prove” you were driving under the influence of alcohol by offering up the results of your Breathalyzer test. Moreover, the jury will be instructed to presume your guilt unless you can prove otherwise.

You heard that correctly: the presumption of guilt. Again, this is being based upon a machine’s results. It all comes down to a single machine. Your guilt or innocence solely depends upon what this machine says. Let’s take a closer look at this all-important machine…

“Breathalyzer” is a catch-all name for breath test machines – taken from the original Breathalyzer 900. In fact, there are actually a number of different manufactures and models of breath test machines today. For the last decade, the most popular model has been the Intoxilyzer 5000, which is produced by CMI Inc. How reliable and accurate is this particular machine when it comes to measuring a person’s blood alcohol content?

What is the manufacturer’s opinion? How confident are they that their product is reliable enough to send a person to jail? Let’s take a look at the following statement taken directly from the Intoxilyzer 5000’s warranty:

"CMI, Inc., a subsidiary of MPD, Inc., warrants that each new product will be free from defects in material and workmanship, under normal use and service, for a period of one year from the date of delivery to the first user-purchaser…."

This machine is only warranted for ONE year? It is not uncommon for the machines found at various law enforcement agencies to have been in service for 5-10 years. What if the machine develops a problem that requires repair from the manufacturer?

"Repaired components are warranted for a period of 90 days from the date of repair."

Only 90 days? Personally, our washing machine has a better warranty than this. The warranty also states:

"There are no other warranties expressed or implied, including but not limited to, any implied warranties of merchantibility or fitness for a particular purpose….

If we understand this wording correctly, CMI Inc. is refusing to warrant their product for any “particular purpose.” The Intoxilyzer 5000 is specifically designed to measure the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath, but CMI refuses to guarantee that it will accurately do so? This is a wonderful example of the tools law enforcement agencies are using to prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

CMI Inc.’s warranty goes on to state that the manufacturer cannot be held responsible for any “indirect or consequential damages” that arise from defects in the workmanship or materials. Simply stated, if you are sent to jail because of defects in the Intoxilyzer 5000, you cannot sue CMI Inc.

The truth is, for the first time in America’s legal history, people are being convicted of criminal offenses based solely on what a machine says. How sure are we of their accuracy? How sure are the manufacturers?

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Are Awards from MADD for Police Officers Who Make DWI Arrests Really a Good Idea?

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is an aggressive advocacy group dedicated to establishing tougher laws on driving while intoxicated. This group routinely awards police officers across the country for the number of DWI arrests they make within a calendar year. Several California police officers across the state recently received such awards.

In order to qualify for a MADD award, an officer must arrest a minimum of 25 intoxicated motorists within 12 months.

According to multiple news outlet, one MADD award recipient, Peter Avila, is a highway patrol officer from Monterey, California. In 2014 alone, he made an astonishing 66 DWI arrests. This was more than any other officer in his county.

Initially, these awards might seem like a good idea. After all, you’re awarding police officers who take drunk drivers off the road, right? However, the primary flaw in this logic is that, just because a motorist was arrested, does not necessarily mean that he or she was driving while intoxicated.

So, are such awards warranted?

An arrest is fruitless without an accompanying conviction. Each person, regardless of the criminal offense they are arrested for, is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. An arrest means nothing unless it is proven that the arrestee was driving drunk.

As experienced New Hampshire DWI defense lawyers, we can confidently tell you that many DWI arrests do not necessarily wind up as DWI convictions.

In both California and New Hampshire, police officers routinely arrest motorists for DWI when there is not enough evidence to warrant a conviction. In some cases, there is not even enough evidence to substantiate an arrest. So why do they do this? This simple answer is because they can.

A recent case our firm worked on provides an ideal example. Our client, “Bob”, was pulled over for speeding. What reason the arresting officer had for believing that Bob was driving under the influence we’ll never know. Regardless, Bob was asked to perform several field sobriety tests. Of course, he failed the tests, even though his BAC levels only measured .004% - well under the legal limit.

Although our client was arrested for a New Hampshire DWI, he was not intoxicated. Fortunately, the prosecutor agreed with our point of view and declined to file criminal charges. However, our client was still forced to spend a night in jail and had to shell out money to hire our firm to represent him. While Bob was not drunk, the arresting officer still received one more “point” towards a MADD award.

We don’t believe that these awards drive police officers to make illegal DWI arrests. Police officers are going to make these arrests regardless of whether or not they are awarded for them.

However, in our opinion, MADD is awarding police officers for meaningless DWI arrests that do not lead to convictions. Not all people who are arrested for a DWI are actually driving while intoxicated.

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79 Year Old Woman Arrested For DWI In Rochester

On August 31st, a 79 year old woman from Florida was arrested for driving while intoxicated, which resulted in a single car accident. The woman knocked over a utility pole, and the road had to be closed. The arrest was made after police officers responded to multiple reports of a vehicle driving on two flat tires, then striking a utility pole on Little Falls Bridge Road.

According to police officers, the suspect left the paved portion of the road and subsequently struck the pole. The vehicle sustained heavy damage to the front end and was towed away from the scene. Hersey was taken by ambulance to Frisbie Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. She has been charged with a Class B DWI misdemeanor, and her arraignment was held on September 14th.

This story, which recently happened in New Hampshire, might sound humorous. Perhaps you are imagining a little old lady, drunk off her rear end, driving a car on two flat tires.

DWI are no laughing matter, and it can happen to anyone – regardless of your age.

Here are a few sobering statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) you need to consider:

§  In fatal automobile accidents in 2011, the highest percentage of intoxicated drivers was for motorists between the ages of 21 to 24 (32%), followed by ages 25-34 (30%), and 35 to 44 (34%).

§  In 2013, among children aged 14 years and younger, a total of 1,149 were killed in automobile accidents. 17% (200) of these accidents involved the use of alcohol. Out of the 200 total deaths, 61% were passengers in an automobile where the driver had a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. Another 15% were bicyclists or pedestrians who were hit by drivers with a BAC of .08% or higher.

§  The average intoxicated driver will drive drunk 80 times before their first arrest.

Are you finished laughing yet?

These are just a few reasons why the State of New Hampshire considers driving while intoxicated to be such a serious offense. If you are convicted of a first time DWI offense in New Hampshire, ou face serious penalties including having a criminal record and mandatory license loss.

Make no mistake about it: driving while intoxicated is a serious offense. However, mistakes also happen, and one offense shouldn’t ruin the rest of your future. If you have been arrested for and charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, contact our law offices today to speak with one of our experienced NH DWI attorneys. If we cannot have your case dismissed, then we will work diligently to minimize the negative ramifications that come with a conviction. Time is of the essence, so contact us today.

 

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Can My Green Card Be Revoked If I’m Convicted of a DWI?

In short, the answer is yes. A green card serves as a reflection of your “permanent resident” status in the U.S. However, a green card can be revoked if you are convicted of specific crimes, including DWIs.

If you are convicted of a New Hampshire DWI, the revocation will not occur immediately. In the first phase of the process, you would be formally summoned to an immigration court to begin removal proceedings. Here, an immigration judge would hear your explanations and would determine whether or not your green card should be revoked. If your green card is revoked, then you will be deported.

In and of itself, having one or more driving while intoxicated convictions on your record is sufficient to meet the deportation requirements established by immigration laws. This list is complicated and extensive; however, depending upon the facts surrounding your case, a single DWI can make you become deportable.

Whether or not you are deported will depend primarily upon the aggravating factors involved in your case. For example, these factors might include having a child present in your automobile or driving on a suspended driver’s license. These types of conditions can lead the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to determine you have committed a crime involving “moral turpitude”. A crime of moral turpitude (CMT) is, by itself, sufficient to have a person deported if the crime occurs within five years of the date the individual was admitted into the United States and if the crime carries a potential prison sentence of at least one year in your home state. In the state of New Hampshire, it does.

A person who already has one crime of moral turpitude on their record will be at greater risk of deportation if they are convicted of a second offense. If an individual is convicted of a DWI that is drug related, rather than alcohol related, this significantly increases their chances of deportation. Their green card could be revoked on the grounds that an offense related to a controlled substance was committed.

In a similar fashion, if an accident were to occur because of your DWI and a person was grievously injured as a result, additional criminal charges of negligent homicide or aggravated assault could create further deportability issues. So far, New Hampshire courts have not classified such incidences as “crimes of violence”, but this is yet another ground for deportability. With a harmful enough incident, it is not overreaching to assume that the NH court system and USCIS would invoke this portion of the law.

Could I Be Caught by the USCIS?

The answer is yes. It is not uncommon for USCIS agents to visit state prisons to observe whether or not non-citizens are being imprisoned. When deemed appropriate, they will initiate deportation proceedings. Cooperation between immigration officials and law enforcement agencies is becoming increasingly common, and in recent years, deportation of convicted criminals has becoming more and more common in an effort to alleviate overcrowding in the American prison system.

Even if you are not sentenced to prison, the simple act of applying for U.S. citizenship will lead the USCIS to review your criminal record, including your DWI conviction. Not only can this lead them to deny your citizenship application, but if they deem it appropriate, they will initiate removal proceedings.

Speak to an Experienced DWI Attorney

Any DWI conviction in the state of New Hampshire carries serious consequences, but for state citizens who hold a green card, the stakes are even higher and the ramifications greater. Multiple DWI convictions can lead the USCIS to begin deportation procedures. The best method of avoiding this frightening experience is to avoid receiving a DWI conviction in the first place.

The ideal method is to avoid drinking and driving altogether, but at our law firm, we understand that mistakes do happen. To afford yourself the maximum amount of possible protection, you should speak to one of our experienced NH DWI attorneys immediately, ideally before your first court appearance. Each of our caring attorneys will guide you through the process and work closely with you to achieve the most favorable outcome in your case.

Your initial consultation is free, so please contact us today. We look forward to working with you.

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Can DWIs Be Eliminated by Equipping All Cars With Alcohol Sensors?

In an interesting announcement made last week, federal officials stated that new technology has been made available that could eliminate driving while intoxicated altogether. It is believed that, if this option is installed on all new automobiles, drunk driving could be wholly eliminated within the next five years. However, this new technology is no different from current efforts at preventing drunk driving: preventing an automobile from starting by a motorist who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level above the established legal limit. What distinguishes this new method is how it is being implemented.

Touch sensitive contact points on gear shifts or starter buttons or passive breath sensors would possess the technology to immediately register a driver’s BAC levels. Traditional ignition interlock devices require a motorist to breathe into a tube for a sample of their breath before the vehicle will start. However, vehicles that are equipped with this new technology do not require this for a BAC to be determined.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator, Mark Rosekind, calls the technology “a huge step forward” and says it is not a matter questioning whether or not it can be done, but rather how quickly it can be done.

The official cost of this new technology has not yet been made public, but experts believe that, once the sensors go into general, mass production, the cost will be similar to the cost of seatbelts or air bags. This equates to an average of $150.00 to $200.00 per automobile.

In 2014, the NHTSA made it mandatory for all new vehicles to be equipped with backup cameras; however, unlike safety features of this type, this new technology for alcohol detection would not be mandatory. It will instead be offered as an available upgrade feature on all new automobiles. Bud Zaouk, who is the head of the laboratory where the technology is still under development, says the technology must become accurate, quick, and simple for car makers to install in their vehicles before mass production and use of the technology is made available. The accuracy of these sensors is still being developed and tested. The goal of Zaouk’s team is to create sensors that produce BAC readings in less than a single second and that can work for 157,000 miles or a minimum of 10 years before maintenance or calibration is required.

Unsurprisingly, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has expressed their avid enthusiasm for the new technology. Addressing an audience at NHTSA, Colleen Sheehey-Church, the president of MADD, called the technology “the future” as she unveiled a prototype vehicle equipped with the detection gear. In her speech, she said, “…when drunk drivers will be unable to drive their cars. If this technology was available in 2004, my son, Dustin, might be alive today.”

In 2004, Sheehey-Church’s son died while riding in the backseat of a car driven by an intoxicated driver. The driver drove the vehicle into a river.

For all of the positive applications of the new technology that the NHTSA has touted, a vocal and growing minority has expressed concern over what they term as “glaring issues”.

Ignition interlock devices are designed to detect alcohol only in the presence of the driver’s bloodstream. However, these new sensors would be detecting the presence of alcohol from the air within the cabin of the vehicle regardless of whether it is coming from the driver’s seat, the backseat, or a passenger seat. Many believe that, if this is the case, what is the point of having a designated driver? It is one of many questions that have yet to be addressed or answered. Other important questions detractors have include:

§  How will the technology work with convertibles or motorcycles?

§  How will the technology work in conjunction with open windows?

§  Would those who work in the food service industry, and who regularly come into contact with alcohol (e.g. waiters and bartenders) be required to shower and change clothes before they can drive home?

§  Would the new technology be able to detect the presence of alcohol that originates from hand sanitizer, perfumes, or mouthwash?

The new technology is certainly still in its infancy stage, but these questions will need to be addressed before the general public is willing to adopt this technology en masse. Still, others advocate focusing on the development of self-driving cars as a means of reducing drunk driving. Regardless of which option pans out, it provides an interesting glimpse into what the future of anti-drunk driving measures hold.

 

I have represented clients for DWI who were using an interlock device at the time. There is often a record of your BAC through the interlock company which can help your case.

 

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Avoid a New Hampshire DWI This Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is a holiday that is highly anticipated across the country, but nowhere quite as much as the beautiful and patriotic New England states. Proud of their heritage of being among the founding states in the Union, the holiday is heralded by the New England states with bonfires, cookouts, fireworks, drinking, and having a wonderful time with friends and family members.

Consume Alcohol Responsibly

It is unfortunate that the good times are often allowed to go too far, and it is almost inevitable that an NH motorist will wind up with a DWI charge following a particularly good time over the holiday weekend. This is the moment when it becomes critical to employ the services of an experienced DWI lawyer who is intimately familiar with New Hampshire law. Of course, the smartest decision one can make is to ensure that they do not drive at all after consuming alcohol, so pleas exercise responsibility and caution and ensure that you have a designated driver. However, because mistakes are made, create a plan of action in case the worst case scenario were to occur and have on hand the contact information for a few experienced NH DWI attorneys within New Hampshire. There will be many ongoing firework events to celebrate the holiday, and it is not difficult to get caught up in the excitement of having a good time with your friends.

Be Smart and Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is strongly encouraged to ensure that your head remains clear and that you do not get behind the wheel of your vehicle after having indulged in one too many drinks. In the unfortunate event that you do get into trouble, our experienced and professional NH DWI lawyers can assist you in avoiding the worst of The Graphite State’s iron grip.

Let’s clarify this point: Preparing in advance does not offer you an excuse to behave in an irresponsible manner and then turn to an attorney and expect to be able to avoid the consequences of your poor choices. Whether you are traveling for the holiday weekend or plan to remain close to home, it is, first and foremost, your responsibility to ensure your own personal safety, in addition to the safety of the motorists who must share New Hampshire’s roadways with you. If you should fail in doing so, an experienced DWI lawyer can assist you in circumnavigating New Hampshire’s legal process in order to reduce the legal ramifications you must contend with, not eliminate them.

DWI lawyers are experienced in the exact processes that accompany New Hampshire’s driving while intoxicated laws and how local jurisdictions deal with these types of matters, what courses of action are available to lessen the consequences the defendant must endure, and the best method of ensuring that a second offense will not be committed. Such scenarios necessitate a win win outcome, and by negotiating a positive outcome with the New Hampshire court system, while simultaneously ensuring that the offender has learned their lesson, is a first step in guaranteeing that there will be no repeat offenses. In this manner, an experienced New Hampshire DWI lawyer will author a conclusion that is satisfactory to all parties involved in the case.

Don’t Try to Do This Alone

Because it is such a serious matter, it is imperative that you do not attempt to handle the matter yourself within an NH court of law. The negative ramifications can be severe, and far reaching consequences can affect long into your future. Having a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer working on your behalf is a necessity in order to minimize the impact the consequences of your mistake have on your life. Again, the most responsible course of action is to ensure that you do not allow yourself to get into this position in the first place, but if things do get out of hand, make certain that you immediately contact a reputable NH DWI attorney.

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http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150608/NEWS03/150609288

"A computer error dating back to December 2013 may have erroneously recertified approximately 110 police officers for using breath-testing devices, casting an untold number of drunken driving cases into question."

"Police officers are required to maintain their certification for breath tests for results to be valid in district court and administrative license suspension hearings. Officers take the re-certification test on a computer.

In at least one case in Seabrook, a prosecutor asked a judge on May 28 to strike a guilty plea in a drunken driving case in 10th Circuit Court, Seabrook division. The arresting officer in that case learned on May 15 that he was one of the 110 officers who failed a re-certification test, according to a court motion.

The re-certification issue has also emerged in the upcoming trial of Remi Gross-Santos, a Portsmouth teen who faces aggravated drunken driving and second-degree assault charges for striking two Hampton women last year.
"

The Attorney General's office has not made public the list of police who were improperly certified. This has resulted in lawsuits being filed as well a right to know requests by defense lawyers. If an officer was improperly certified, this could result in guilty pleas being vacated or new trials.

A computer error dating back to December 2013 may have erroneously recertified approximately 110 police officers for using breath-testing devices, casting an untold number of drunken driving cases into question. - See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150608/NEWS03/150609288#sthash.Fd8leEat.dpuf
A computer error dating back to December 2013 may have erroneously recertified approximately 110 police officers for using breath-testing devices, casting an untold number of drunken driving cases into question. - See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150608/NEWS03/150609288#sthash.Fd8leEat.dpuf
A computer error dating back to December 2013 may have erroneously recertified approximately 110 police officers for using breath-testing devices, casting an untold number of drunken driving cases into question. - See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150608/NEWS03/150609288#sthash.Fd8leEat.dpuf
A computer error dating back to December 2013 may have erroneously recertified approximately 110 police officers for using breath-testing devices, casting an untold number of drunken driving cases into question. - See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150608/NEWS03/150609288#sthash.Fd8leEat.dpuf
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In New Hampshire, under certain circumstances, police are allowed to do checkpoints. In one state, police arrested someone for setting up a fake checkpoint.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2015/06/03/police-say-man-ran-fake-dui-checkpoint-while-drunk/woiZLZLJ9q5KffB1TRcQaM/story.html

"A man who set up a drunken-driving checkpoint — complete with road flares — while pretending to be a state trooper was drunk, police say.

Logan Shaulis, 19, of Somerset parked his vehicle diagonally across state Route 601 and set up road flares at about 4 a.m. Saturday, Pennsylvania State Police said.

A motorist who stopped told police that Shaulis claimed he was a trooper and demanded to see the woman’s driver’s license, registration and insurance papers."

 

In New Hampshire checkpoints, there are usually numerous police cars involved, as well as a sign indicating there is a checkpoint up ahead. The officers are almost always in their police uniform. If it is a plain clothed officer, feel free to ask the cop to see his police badge.

 

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All It Takes Is One Anonymous Tip

Let’s say another motorist dials 911 and claims that you attempted to run her vehicle off of the road. Even if you have not provided police officers with any reason to pull you over, are following all traffic laws, and are driving in a safe manner, does this provide enough probable cause for a police officer to pull you over?

Recently, the United States Supreme Court heard the 2014 case of Jose and Lorenzo Navarette. One late afternoon in California, these two brothers were driving their pickup along the road. Shortly before 4:00 pm, police officers received a report from an unidentified party reporting that a silver colored Ford F150 with a license plate identical to Navarette’s had attempted to run their vehicle off of the road.

With no other basis besides the anonymous 911 report, police officers spotted the brothers’ truck and pulled their vehicle over to question the driver. Upon approaching the automobile, police officers detected the smell of marijuana, and the brothers were ordered to exit the truck. A subsequent search of the truck resulted in the discovery of two oversized bags of marijuana. Jose and Lorenzo were promptly arrested and charged with multiple criminal charges.

In the past, the U.S. Supreme Court has required law enforcement officials to observe some specificity in order to lend credibility to an anonymous tip. Prior to the Navarette case, a vague tip, such as “Bob is driving drunk.” would not have provided sufficient evidence for officers to act upon it. The Supreme Court has referred to this as a bare bones tip.

However, if the tip had been more specific, “Bob has had eight beers to drink. He has an open container of alcohol in his vehicle now. He is currently driving to Location X.”, then existing case law would have more than likely allowed officers to search Bob’s truck if he was observed swerving erratically or breaking other traffic laws while driving to Location X.

It is important to determine whether or not police officers acted in a constitutional manner in this case due to the “fruit of the poisonous tree” canon. If police officers top a motorist in a fashion that is classified as illegal, what they find does not matter. The fruits of their search would be considered inadmissible in any court of law.

In a split decision of 5-4, the Supreme Court decided to uphold the conviction, classifying the stop of the Navarettes’ vehicle as legal for several reasons:

§  The caller who reported they were run off of the road was able to describe the truck in detail, including the number on its license plate.

§  The tip was reported through 911. This is not considered a completely anonymous means of reporting. 911 calls can be traced, and if a fraudulent tip was reported, it could have serious ramifications for the caller.

§  The call’s timeline, in direct correlation to where police officers initially spotted the truck suggested that the incident was reported shortly after it occurred, which bolsters the report’s credibility.

§  Because the anonymous tipper reported nearly being involved in a collision, this created enough suspicion that the driver was intoxicated.

The position of the dissenting judges was stated by Justice Scalia. In his argument, he stated that the tip did not possess the specificity that, in the past, had been required for police officers to act. Furthermore, police officers did not know the identity, address, phone number, or where the individual was when the phone call was made. The dissenters pointed out that every motorist on the road, not only drug dealers, was at risk of having their freedom of movement restricted based upon a simple, unsubstantiated report of careless driving.

How does the Supreme Court’s decision affect DWI cases in New Hampshire? After the making of this decision, motorists who have been charged with driving while intoxicated will have a significantly more difficult time that the police officer did not possess probable cause if the traffic stop was initiated because of an anonymous tip.

If you have been charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, please contact one our experienced NH DWI lawyers today. Your initial consultation is free, and we will carefully analyze each facet of your case and recommend an appropriate course of action. Time is of the essence, so please do not delay.

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7 Tricks You Can Use That Won’t Trick a Breathalyzer

At our firm, one of the most common questions we hear is, “What can I do to trick a Breathalyzer machine?”

It is certainly true that Breathalyzers, in and of themselves, are inaccurate. However, many individuals mistakenly believe that they can effectively trick a Breathalyzer machine into producing a lower reading. In reality, the majority of these “tricks” will have no effect on the machine’s reading. A few of these tricks will actually increase the final reading.

Here’s a look at 7 common tactics and the effects they have on a Breathalyzer’s readings:

1.       Burping Into the Breathalyzer. This tactic arises from the misconception that gas originating from the stomach contains less alcohol than the air in your lungs.Burping can actually give you a much higher result.

2.       Using Mouthwash or Breath Spray. Mouthwashes and breath sprays each contain alcohol. The Breathalyzer’s design is aimed to collect samples of air from deep within your lungs, but it can test the air from your mouth as well. Consequently, using either one of these substances can actually increase the machine’s BAC reading – making it higher than what it otherwise would have been.

3.       Sucking on a Penny. There is a common misconception that the metals a penny contains will mix with the fumes of the alcohol and create a Breathalyzer reading that is so high, the only explanation for the reading is that the machine is malfunctioning. The air sample that a Breathalyzer reads comes from deep within your lungs and is called alveolar air. The copper metal within your mouth would not produce an effect on the alveolar air from your lungs. This fact was supported by the Mythbusters from the Discovery Channel. In their 2003 experiment, the hosts discovered that a penny has absolutely no effect on a Breathalyzer reading.

4.       Eating Your Underpants. No, that is not a typo. Recently, an 18 year old resident of Alberta, Canada, David Zurfluh, tore the crotch out of his underwear and stuffed it in his mouth in the mistaken belief that he could reduce the Breathalyzer’s BAC readings. Unfortunately, he has not been the only person to do this. Many others hold the same incorrect belief that fabric placed within the mouth will absorb alcohol. Again, the breath sample provided to the machine comes from deep within your lungs, so the presence of cloth will have absolutely no effect on it.

5.       Consuming Caffeine. It is a common myth that one can sober up by drinking caffeine, specifically in the form of coffee. When a person who has consumed a good bit of alcohol drinks caffeine, they are merely attempting to make themselves more energized or alert. Your level of alertness has no effect on a Breathalyzer’s readings.

6.       Holding Your Breath. In a study entitled “How Breathing Techniques Can Influence the Results of Breath Alcohol Analysis”, it was determined that holding your breath for 15 seconds or more before blowing into a Breathalyzer machine can actually increase the BAC level reading by 15% or more.

7.       Hyperventilation. The least popular trick of these seven is actually the only one that will reduce a Breathalyzer’s blood alcohol content reading. In the same study cited in #6, hyperventilating for 20-30 seconds before offering a breath sample will reduce the machine’s BAC level by 10% or more. The reason behind this is because hyperventilation replaces the alcohol gas found in the lungs with fresh, clean air.

Despite the fact that the validity of these “tricks” has been refuted, there will still be people who try to use them. Don’t be stupid. The best method of avoiding being confronted by a Breathalyzer machine is to avoid drinking and driving altogether, but we understand that mistakes do happen.

If you are arrested and charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, please contact our law offices immediately. Time is of the essence, and your initial consultation is free. We will work diligently on your behalf to achieve a positive outcome in your case.

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New Hampshire Considers Tightening Its Impaired Driving Enforcement

New Hampshire’s DWI laws are applicable when it comes to driving an automobile under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both. In the state of New Hampshire, operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs is a serious crime. A conviction on this charge will produce the same sanctions and penalties as drunken driving would. Though drugged driving is discussed less frequently thank drunk driving, advocacy groups and lawmakers are striving to bring more attention statewide to this issue. On a federal level, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Office of National Drug Control Policy believe that, while drunken driving sees reductions each year because of efforts at increasing public awareness, drugged driving continues to present a credible threat to public safety, and this issue should be moved into the national spotlight.

Drugged Driving: A Growing Epidemic

A report entitled, Drug Testing of Drug Involved Driving of Fatally Injured Drivers In the United States, was recently published by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This report states that, in 2009 alone, nearly 22,000 motorists in the United States were killed in automobile accidents. Of all of these motorists, a little over 60% were tested for the presence of drugs. 33% of the total number of drivers tested had a positive result for the presence of drugs in their system. This percentage accounts for 18% of all motorists who were fatally injured in automobile accidents. At the same time, this number only represents motorists who were killed in vehicular accidents and does not represent the amount of guiltless victims. There is a strong push for more research to be conducted in this field, so an accurate representation of the problem can be obtained.

One of the primary setbacks that researchers have run into while looking into this problem arises from the fact that not all motorists were tested for the presence of drugs. It is a known fact that between 2005 and 2009, the number of motorists involved in deadly accidents who were tested for the presence of drugs did increase by approximately 5%. However, as aforementioned, in 2009, the percentage of tested drivers was less than 65%. New Hampshire is one of the few states across the country that requires all motorists involved in deadly accidents to be tested for drugs. Yet, not all states have enacted this policy. Moreover, not all motorists involved in deadly accidents are tested for a variety of reasons.

Unfortunately, drunken driving and drug impaired driving tend to go hand in hand with one another. Multiple different studies have shown that approximately 48% of motorists involved in a fatal accident who tested positive for the presence of drugs also tested positive for the presence of alcohol. This fact also means that the total percentage of drugged driving fatalities could potentially be overstated.

How Does New Hampshire Measure Up?

According to data released by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, in 2009, approximately 70 motorists in the state of New Hampshire were killed in a vehicular accident. Of this total number, 76% of the deceased motorists were tested for the presence of drugs. Although New Hampshire’s laws dictate that all motorists involved in a fatal accident should be tested for the presence of drugs, specific factors could have prevented tested. For example, the motorist may have decidedly been the victim in the accident or samples may not have been available at the time of testing.

Of the total number of motorists who were tested in our state, only 13 of these deceased individuals (or roughly 25%) tested positive for the presence of drugs. It was during this same year that the national average for tested motorists was 63% with 33% testing positive for drugs. Of the 13 New Hampshire drivers who did test positive, 2 individuals tested positive for the presence of a narcotic, 4 people tested positive for the presence of an anti-depressant, and the other 7 tested positive for the presence of cannabinoids, such as marijuana.

The Battle to Reduce Drugged Driving

In order to reduce the number of drugged driving fatalities that occur each year, the Office of National Drug Control Policy is seeking to reduce the total number of drugged driving instances that occur in the United States each year by approximately 10% by the time 2015 rolls around. On their website, they state that their strategy for accomplishing this goal includes employing the following measures:

§  Encouraging other states to institute Per Se drug laws

§  Collecting more data regarding drugged driving

§  Increasing education of professionals and communities regarding the effects of drugged driving

§  Increasing the amount of training provided to law enforcement officials regarding drugged driving

§  Developing standardized testing methods for detecting the presence of drugs in motorists

Advocacy groups are also seeking to assist police officers in increasing the number of drugged driving arrests that are made each year. For most states, this translates to an increase in strengthening their DWI laws and including the addition of per se statutes. Currently, New Hampshire does not have per se laws regarding drug impairment; although such statues were recently added for drunken DWIs.

While New Hampshire police officers are being actively encouraged to make more DWI arrests for both drugs and alcohol, officers do occasionally become overzealous in their efforts, which can lead to frivolous accusations and unwarranted arrests. Should you unfortunately find yourself in this position, your first step should be to contact one of our skilled and experienced New Hampshire DWI attorneys immediately.

At our law firm, our DWI attorneys can assist you in combatting the DWI charges laid against you – regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case. Your initial consultation is free, and it is our pledge to you to work diligently on your behalf to secure the best possible outcome for your case. Please contact us today.

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New Hampshire’s DWI Laws: Impaired Driver Care Management Programs Part 1

This is the first blog in a two part installment on how Impaired Driver Care Management Programs work in the state of New Hampshire.

Under New Hampshire’s current DWI laws, a motorist who is convicted of DWI, whether convicted by a jury or by pleading guilty, is required to complete a state approved Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP) before their driving privileges can be reinstated. If the conditions set forth by the state and these programs are not met, then one will not be able to have their driver’s license restored.

The Beginnings of IDCMP

Impaired Driver Care Management Programs were created in January of 2013 when New Hampshire enacted considerable changes to their DWI laws and sentencing processes. Before the enactment of this new law, a first time DWI offender had to successfully complete a 20 hour course entitled the Impaired Driver Intervention Program, which were offered by private institutions. Second time offenders had to successfully complete the Multiple Offender Program, which was 7 days in length. For a third or subsequent DWI conviction, offenders had to complete a 28 day residential treatment program offered through a private facility.

However, as of January 1st, 2013, 7 and 28 day treatment programs are no longer required by New Hampshire state statute. Instead, each individual must complete an IDCMP. Currently, there are 7 state approved, private providers who offer this program.

Stringent Deadlines

A motorist who is convicted of a first offense DWI, under state law, must have a screening evaluation conducted within 14 days of their initial conviction. This is a stringent deadline that is quite difficult for both program providers and defendants to meet. If the screening evaluation produces a positive result for a substance abuse disorder, then the individual must obtain a second screening evaluation, referred to as a full substance abuse disorder evaluation, within 30 days after the first screening. This comprehensive evaluation is then used to recommend an aftercare program for the defendant. According to available data, currently two thirds of all clients who enroll in IDCMPs test positive for substance abuse disorders.

On the other hand, if an initial screening is negative for the presence of a substance abuse problem, then the defendant would be required to complete a 20 hour Impaired Driver Education Program or Weekend Impaired Driver Education Program. A standard IDEP consists of multiple sessions that are held on weeknights and/or consecutive Saturdays and Sundays. A Weekend IDEP is a more concentrated version of the original program, and it is scheduled from Friday afternoons until Sunday afternoons. It does require two overnight stays for participants.

How Much Does an IDCMP Cost?

Without a doubt, Impaired Driver Care Management Programs are expensive. Currently, the capped fees for this program stand at:

§  Intake-includes screening if 1st offender - $75.00

       Client fee - $70.00

       Substance Use Evaluation - $200.00

       IDEP - $300.00 or WIDEP - $485.00 (WIDEP includes cost of room and board)

       Monitoring fee - $30.00 per contact

       IDCMP court appearance fee -$100.00

       Drug or alcohol testing fee – varies

       Out of state monitoring fee - $350.00

Skip a Deadline & Suffer the Consequences

For first time offenders convicted of a DWI, the process begins with a longer driver’s license suspension - usually a minimum of nine months. A New Hampshire state court will generally reduce this suspension period by 6 months if certain conditions of the IDCMP are adequately met. More specifically, the two deadlines that absolutely must be met are the initial screening evaluation within 14 days and the 30 day full substance abuse disorder evaluation. Exceptions are allowed to this rule only if the defendant can obtain a waiver from New Hampshire’s Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services.

If, for some reason, you cannot meet the first deadline for the initial screening evaluation, then you can expect your driver’s license suspension to triple unless a waiver can be had.

You Do Have a Choice

New Hampshire law does allow for some flexibility with Impaired Driver Care Management Programs. At any point during the process, you do have the option of halting your participation in one IDCMP and enrolling in a different program. For example, if one defendant’s screening produces a positive result, but they had a negative experience at the 14 day screening evaluation, then they can abandon ship and schedule the 30 day full screening at a different facility. This might increase the amount of money they are required to pay; however, no one can force you to stick it out with a single program.

Tune In Tomorrow

Here is where we are going to pause for the day, but tune in tomorrow when we begin discussing the screening process and how full substance abuse evaluations are conducted in New Hampshire.

Remember, if you have been charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, please contact one of our experienced and skilled New Hampshire DWI lawyers immediately. Your initial consultation is free, but time is of the essence in NH DWI cases, so don’t delay.

New Hampshire’s DWI Laws: Impaired Driver Care Management Programs Part 2

This blog is the second part of our two part series on New Hampshire’s Impaired Driver Care Management Programs (IDCMPs). This program is mandated for all motorists in the state of New Hampshire who are convicted of a DWI and consist of screening evaluations, alcohol and drug abuse education classes, and aftercare management.

The Changing Landscape of DWIs

New Hampshire was among the first states in the U.S. to implement the IDCMP model, and many other states are anxiously watching to see how it will affect the ever changing landscape of DWI law. In May of 2014, the New Hampshire Bar Association hosted an all day conference entitled “DWI Litigation: Keeping Pace With a Rapidly Changing Landscape”, which was attended by many state prosecutors and DWI defense attorneys, including several out of state guests. One of the keynote speakers of the conference was Robert Kelley, the director of the Amethyst Foundation. The Amethyst Foundation is just one of seven state approved providers of IDCMPs in New Hampshire.

Different Screening Instruments

As discussed yesterday, a defendant’s initial screening must occur within 14 days of the date of their conviction. The director of an IDCMP program will administer a battery of tests to an incoming client, including the Research On Addictions Self-Inventory (RIASI) and the Driver Risk Inventory (DRI-II) tests. Each test is scored in accordance with current research, and it is believed that certain answer patterns indicate and reflect the likelihood that a person has a substance abuse disorder.

Is It a Meaningless Charade?

The initial 14 day screening is believed to be a meaningless charade for certain defendants who automatically have a positive screening for the presence of a substance abuse disorder simply because they conform to a certain mold or criteria. Examples of such defendants include those who have prior NH DWI convictions, individuals who are under the age of 21 years, and those whose blood alcohol content level was higher than .16% at the time of their arrest. Despite the fact that administrative regulations automatically deem these clients at risk, each person is still required to attend the 14 day screening evaluation and to pay for its cost out of pocket.

Although this practice seems unfair, it is important to bear in mind that this is absolutely not the fault of the Impaired Driver Care Management Program. Rather, it is a New Hampshire state statute that the program provider, by law, must follow.

The Driver Risk Inventory (DRI-II)

Of all of the assessment tools and tests used by IDCMPs, perhaps the most well-known is the Driver Risk Inventory. This test is designed to be subjective, and the answers a person provides are analyzed for specific patterns to indicate their likelihood of having a disorder.

The Driver Risk Inventory itself consists of 129 questions. 84 of these questions are true/false. 11 are multiple choice questions, and the remaining 34 are subjective, self-rating questions.

An example of the type of true/false question one would expect to see on the test includes:

“I am impatient and often drive fast.”

An example of a subjective, self-rating question one might find on test is:

“Rate yourself as either 1) rarely or never, 2) sometimes, 3) often or 4) very often” for the following item: “98.  Fatigued/Tired/Sluggish”

It Is Useless to Try and Game the System

Simple observation will reveal that many of the questions on these assessment tools do not directly deal with the DWI itself. Rather, they indirectly aim to root out any underlying issues to gauge whether or not an individual has a substance abuse problem. IDCMP program directors and responsible NH DWI lawyers strongly discourage their clients from attempting to game the system by answering these questions in a manner designed to receive a negative result for a substance abuse disorder. The tests do have certain safeguards implemented to detect dishonesty. There are certain answer patterns that typically indicate when a client is contriving their answers instead of answering them truthfully and honestly.

What is most important is that the point of an IDCMP is to assist a person in receiving the help they need to deal with a problem they may not even be aware they had. Unfortunately, many defendants view an IDCMP as just another component of their punishment – something that just needs to be “gotten through”.

The Research On Addictions Self-Inventory

Although the Research On Addictions Self-Inventory test is similar to the Driver Risk Inventory, it is different in the fact that its questions tend to deal with underlying issues in a more direct manner (e.g. “I leave a party one the alcohol has run out.”). It also contains questions that initially seem to have little to do with treating existing underlying issues (“Since I turned 18, I have required emergency treatment for some type of injury.”). Once again, this test is looking for a specific pattern of answers. If a client attempts to contrive the answers they provide, the pattern that is created will indicate deception, which is a surefire method of ensuring that they will be prescribed an onerous aftercare plan.

New Hampshire DWI Lawyers

It is important to remember that an IDCMP is only one element of the penalties you will face if you are convicted of a DWI. Of course, the best method of avoiding a DWI conviction is to avoid drinking and driving; however, if you should find yourself charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, please contact our law offices immediately.

Your initial consultation is free, and each one of skilled and experienced NH DWI attorneys will work diligently to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

 

 

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How a DWI Conviction Can Affect Your Plans to Travel to Canada

Because of its close proximity to the border, it is not uncommon for New Hampshire citizens to frequently travel to Canada for both business and pleasure; however, under Canada’s current laws, having a DWI conviction on your criminal record could classify you as a “criminally inadmissible” person. A criminally inadmissible person is barred from visiting, staying in, or residing in Canada because they have been convicted of specific crimes inside or outside of the country.

Regardless of meeting specific eligibility requirements, a non-Canadian person can be classified as criminally inadmissible due to prior criminal conduct or criminal conduct on the part of their dependents. More specifically, if you have been convicted of an NH DWI, gaining entry into Canada will become more complicated – if not outright barred.

Charges of driving while intoxicated are called a variety of names across the United States (DWI, DUI, UDD, OUI, etc.); however, each carries the potential to create a host of issues for United States residents who are seeking entry into Canada. Americans should be aware that Canada’s immigration laws do not place weight on distinguishing between felony and misdemeanor offenses, which means that a misdemeanor offense could make you become criminally inadmissible.

Classification as criminally inadmissible can be surmounted by undergoing criminal rehabilitation or by obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit.

Criminal Rehabilitation

If you have only been convicted of a single DWI offense in New Hampshire and a minimum period of 5 years has passed since you completed the entirety of your sentence, then it may be possible for you to be deemed “rehabilitated” by the Canadian government.

“Rehabilitation” means that you are not likely to repeat your former mistakes or commit a new crime.

To enter Canada, you can apply for individual rehabilitation, which may or may not be granted to you. To apply, you must do the following:

§  Demonstrate that you meet the criteria

§  Have been rehabilitated

§  Prove you are unlikely to participate in future crimes

Furthermore, as aforementioned, five years must have passed since:

§  Your criminal sentence ended (including any attached probation)

§  The day the act that classified you as inadmissible was committed

Applications can be made to the Canadian visa office that serves the state of New Hampshire; however, there is a processing fee that you must pay. Other special, additional requirements may apply. What New Hampshire citizens should be aware of is that these applications often take over a year to process. If you travel to Canada frequently for business, then this could produce serious ramifications on your employment.

Temporary Resident Permits (TRPs)

Temporary Resident Permits are granted individuals who would otherwise be classified as inadmissible for entry into Canada. A TPR must be for a specific purpose. On the TPR application, the visit’s purpose must be clearly explained. A New Hampshire DWI conviction can create a number of complications when it comes to entering Canada – whether permanently or temporarily; however, one does have several options for attempting to overcome this obstacle. If you have been classified as inadmissible, but possess a valid reason for traveling to Canada, you can potentially be issued a TPR.

In order to qualify for a temporary resident permit, the need for you to stay or enter into Canada must outweigh the perceived safety or health risks to Canadian society. Whether or not your need does outweigh the risks will be determined by a border services or immigration officer. Even if you believe that the reason why you are inadmissible is a minor one, you must be able to demonstrate your visit is a necessity.

Bear in mind that there is no guarantee your TPR application will be granted. If you wish to receive a permit, a processing fee must be paid, which is nonrefundable.

A TPR permit is generally valid only for the duration of your stay in Canada. For example, if you are attending a weeklong conference, then your TPR would only be valid for those seven days. You will be required to leave Canada by the expiration date listed on your TPR or else apply for a new permit before the old one expires.

It should also be noted that TPR permits can be revoked at any time by an authorized official. Upon leaving Canada, your permit will become invalid unless it explicitly states that you have been authorized to leave and reenter the country.

The Importance of Having a Skilled DWI Lawyer

Many individuals do not think of the long term consequences, like affecting their ability to travel internationally, a DWI conviction can have. A few drinks during a night out with friends can turn into a legal nightmare that produces long term ramifications. Of course, the best method of avoiding an NH DWI is to not drink and drive, but mistakes do happen.

If you have been charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, please contact our law firm today. Your initial consultation is free, and we will work diligently on your behalf to obtain the best possible outcome for your case. One mistake does not have to ruin your entire future.

 

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FAQs About New Hampshire’s DWI Laws

In the state of New Hampshire, you can receive a DWI if you operate a motor vehicle with a BAC level of .08% or higher, regardless of whether or not your driving abilities are actually impaired. Here are a few of the most common questions we hear from clients:

1.      If I refuse to take a Breathalyzer test or a blood test, what are the consequences?

In New Hampshire, if you refuse to take a blood test or a Breathalyzer test, there are a variety of consequences you could face – depending upon whether it is your first, second, or third offense. For a first time refusal, your driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days. For a second refusal, your driver’s license will be suspended for two years, and for a third refusal, your license will also be revoked for two years.

2.      In New Hampshire, when are police officers required to measure your BAC levels?

In our state, law enforcement officials are generally supposed to measure your blood alcohol content at the time you are pulled over; however, it is possible for a prosecutor to prove you were intoxicated even if your BAC levels are measured at a later time.

3.      For motorists under 21 years of age, what are the maximum BAC levels allowed?

If you are under 21 years of age, the maximum BAC level that is allowed is .02%. Under New Hampshire’s drinking and driving laws, a person under 21 years of age is classified as a minor.

4.      What is the minimum amount of required jail time for a DWI in our state?

For a first offense DWI, there is no minimum required jail term. For a second offense that occurs within two years of the first offense, the minimum required term of incarceration is 37 days. If the second offense takes place within ten years of the first, the term is reduced to 10 days. For a third DWI offense, the minimum amount of required jail time you must serve is 180 days.

5.      In New Hampshire, how long will a prior DWI remain on my record?

For sentencing purposes, in the state of New Hampshire, a prior DWI conviction will remain on your record for ten years.

6.      In New Hampshire, can a DWI charge be pled down to a wet reckless?

Under specific circumstances, a New Hampshire prosecutor may choose to accept a plea bargain for a wet reckless charge. A wet reckless charge is legally defined as one count of driving recklessly that involves the consumption of alcohol. Wet reckless charges are generally made as a result of plea bargaining. This type of plea bargain will most commonly occur when the amount of alcohol you consumed is borderline illegal, no automobile accident occurred, and you have no prior criminal history. However, if you were to be arrested and charged with a subsequent DWI offense in New Hampshire, then your prior wet reckless charge will be classified as a drunk driving conviction. Your resulting sentence may become what is required for a second DWI conviction.

7.      If I am convicted of a DWI in New Hampshire, will I be required to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

In short, the answer is yes. State law requires that ignition interlock devices be installed in the vehicle of any defendant who has a second DWI conviction, drives during their period of license revocation, and for defendants who are convicted of an aggravated DWI.

8.      How many drinks can I have before I reach the legal limit?

This is a question we often hear from motorists who wish to know how many drinks they can have before they become legally classified as drunk. There are apps and online calculators and charts that can offer a rough estimate of how many drinks you can have before you reach the legal limit; however, such tools cannot predict with absolute certainty each individual’s impairment level. In the state of New Hampshire, you can be arrested on a DWI charge without reaching the legal limit of .08% if the police officer believes that you are much too intoxicated to operate an automobile.

9.      What are the penalties for a drunk driving conviction in New Hampshire?

The first time you are convicted of a DWI in New Hampshire, you will be required to pay a minimum monetary fine of $500.00. Your driver’s license can be suspended for a period ranging from nine months to two years. Once eligible, in order to have your driver’s license reinstated, you must successfully complete a state approved impaired motorist prevention program, which you will be required to pay for. A New Hampshire court may require you to undergo alcohol or drug treatment as well.

For a second DWI conviction in New Hampshire, you can expect to face a minimum mandatory jail sentence of 10 days. The monetary fine you must pay increases to $750.00, and your driving privileges will be suspended for a minimum of 3 years. To have your driver’s license reinstated after the suspension period is up, you must successfully complete a multiple DWI offender intervention program. These programs generally run an average of 7 days, and you must pay for it out of pocket. You may also be required to complete an alcohol or drug treatment program and be required to submit to random urinalysis tests that the court believes appropriate.

For a third or subsequent offense, your driving privileges will be revoked indefinitely and cannot be reinstated for a minimum period of 5 years. You will be required to serve a minimum of 180 days in the local county jail, which is followed by a 4 week stay at a residential treatment program for multiple DWI offenders. This program you must pay for yourself. Additional drug and/or alcohol treatment and counseling may be mandated by the court.

10.   Where can I find more information about New Hampshire’s DWI laws?

If you have been charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire or to learn more information about our state’s DWI laws, please contact one of our experienced NH DWI lawyers today. Your initial consultation is free.

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8       Unbelievable Cases of Driving While Intoxicated

Today, we thought we’d take a look at a few of the more humorous DWI stories we’ve heard over the course of our careers. Check out a few of these unusual cases made even our most seasoned NH DWI lawyers chuckle.

1.      The Man Arrested for DWI While Driving a Motorized Beer Cooler

In Australia, a local Noosa man was arrested for DWI while puttering down the road on a motorized beer cooler. The defendant also faced charges of driving without a proper license after police officers pulled him over in his makeshift vehicle. The beer cooler was powered by a 50cc engine. The defense’s legal counsel is currently challenging the concept that the cooler is a vehicle.

2.      The Trio Who Made DWIs a Family Event

This just might be a new record that we’re sure a South Canterbury family would rather not have. Three members of the same family were booked on DWI charges in the same night. Around 12:15 am, a 15 year old male adolescent was stopped and arrested for driving while intoxicated. His Breathalyzer results revealed that his BAC level was more than 3 times the legal limit. After being booked and processed in a Timaru police station, he called his mother to come pick him up. Shortly after 2:00 am, she was pulled over and arrested for drunk driving, with a BAC content nearly twice the legal limit.

After being booked and processed, the woman called her partner to pick mother and son up. The partner was stopped and arrested for DWI at approximately 3 am near North Street.

3.      The Intoxicated Motorist Who Called Police Officers On Herself

A Wisconsin woman recently called 911 to report an intoxicated motorist on the roadway. Her civic minded spirit would be lauded if the drunk driver in question had not been herself. Mary Strey, 49 years of age, was commuting between Granton and Neilsville in Wisconsin after a night of over-imbibing when she made the decision to call 911 and report herself for driving while intoxicated.

She started off the call with the 911 dispatcher by stating “Somebody’s really drunk driving down Granton Road.” After determining what direction the intoxicated driver was headed in, the dispatcher asked Strey if she was behind the vehicle. With commendable honesty, she said no. She was the motorist in question.

Police officers arrived to find the woman slurring her words and unable to follow instructions for their field sobriety tests. Later tests demonstrated that she had a BAC level that was more than twice the legal limit.

4.      Man Dressed As a Breathalyzer Test Arrested For DWI

James Miller, an Ohio student, was recently pulled over by police officers on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Oxford, Ohio. After pulling over the merry motorist driving in the wrong direction on a one way street, police officers discovered, much to their amusement, that the teen was dressed as a Breathalyzer machine. Their suspicions that Miller was intoxicated were further heightened by the discovery of an open can of Bud Light near the driver’s seat. The Breathalyzer costume Miller wore had a dial that offered three different levels of drunkenness: Sotally Tober, Life of the Party, and Boring.

Upon being confronted, Miller filled his mouth with chewing gum in an attempt to disguise the odor of alcohol and insisted that he had had nothing to drink that evening. Despite his fake Breathalyzer costume, a genuine blood alcohol test showed that his BAC levels were nearly twice the legal limit. Miller was also discovered to have multiple fake IDs on his person.

Miller was subsequently charged with driving while intoxicated, underage drinking, and a one way street violation. He was released into the custody of his girlfriend, but not before taking a mug shot in his Breathalyzer costume that has reached new levels of Internet infamy.

5.      Drunk Employees Push Intoxicated Boss’s Automobile Home

Ten employees in a Chinese city were required to push their supervisor’s vehicle home, a distance of approximately three miles, after an office party because each of them were too intoxicated to drive. The coworkers and friends had been enjoying a meal together in a downtown Changchun restaurant when they realized the situation they were in. Supervisor Zhang Fei announced that he was much too intoxicated to drive properly and suddenly realized that a sober driver had not been designated for the evening.

In 2010, drunken driving was listed as a hazardous crime, and Chinese officials have been cracking down on it hard ever since. A first time offender faces a minimum stay in jail of six months and a heavy monetary fine. Zhang did not wish to leave his vehicle downtown, and it was too late to call a taxi. Vice President Huang Weiyun suggested that all ten members of the party push the vehicle home. After point out that Zhang’s home was only 3 miles away and the exercise would help all of them to sober up, everyone agreed.

With Zhang sitting behind the wheel, the group set off. Other motorists and pedestrians reported being stunned at the sight of the merry group singing and laughing as they pushed the VW car through the city streets. All in all, the three mile journey took the group about 45 minutes to complete. Chinese police offices said that, as long as the VW car’s engine was not running, it could not be classified as a DWI offense under Chinese law.

While these stories are certainly good for a headshake and laugh, driving while intoxicated is never a laughing matter, and the consequences of a conviction are sobering. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, please contact our law firm today to speak with one of our experienced New Hampshire DWI attorneys. Your initial consultation is free, and we look forward to working with you in the future.

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Why Is the New Hampshire DWI BAC Limit Set at 0.08%?

Most New Hampshire motorists have a general understanding of the phrase “blood alcohol content” (BAC) and how it is related to New Hampshire’s DWI laws. Measuring a person’s blood alcohol content offers a fairly reliable method of calculating how much alcohol a person has within their system. Lawmakers have discovered that establishing a legal limit to the amount of alcohol a motorist is allowed to consume offers an accurate method of gauging impairment. Rather than being required to shoulder the burden of proving physical impairment in each DWI case, an NH motorist can be charged with a per se DWI if a sobriety test demonstrates that they have a BAC level that is higher than the legal limit.

Within the United States, all adults who are over the age of 21 years possess a legal BAC limit of 0.08%. However, this was not always the legal limit. In its history of the United States’ DWI laws, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that the Department of Transportation’s Appropriation Act was, in 2000, signed into law. Under the provisions of this new law, all 50 states were required to adopt a minimum BAC limit of .08% by 2004 or they would risk losing federal funding for highway construction.

Prior to the passing of this act, only 19 states out of 50, including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, had adopted the .08% standard as the minimum for their own per se DWI laws. In the past, the legal limit for a BAC in the United States was .15%. Nowadays, a BAC level of .15% is considered to be extremely high, and having one this high will result in stiffer criminal penalties and sanctions. For example, a New Hampshire motorist who possesses a BAC limit of .16% or higher will generally be charged with an aggravated DWI, which is subject to harsher sentencing.

BAC limits are supposed to be established based upon what is considered safest for each state and the nation’s roadways. The higher a motorist’s blood alcohol content is, the more alcohol he or she will have consumed, and consequently, the ability to operate a motor vehicle is going to be significantly more impaired. The NHTSA has determined that, within 2010 alone, approximately 35% of all automobile accidents involving fatalities within our state involved motorists who had a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. Nearly 7% of all associated fatalities involved a motorist with a BAC level of .02% to .07%.

Moreover, 10% of all fatal vehicular accidents resulted from motorists who had a BAC concentration ranging from .08% to .14%, and another 25% of all accidents were the result of motorists who had a blood alcohol content of .15% or higher.

The nationwide BAC standard of .08% is, for many groups, a strong point of contention. Many feel as though this established standard is unfair and discourages individuals from social drinking. It is their belief that lower BAC limits were created solely to increase the number of arrests made by law enforcement officials and to make it simpler for prosecutors to obtain DWI convictions. Organizations like the National Motorist Association maintain that current anti-DWI laws have transformed into anti-drinking laws, and their passage have made it virtually impossible to legally drink alcohol and operate an automobile within the same day.

Regardless of what your personal feelings about New Hampshire’s current BAC limits are, the fact remains that it is not likely to be increased in the near future. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently campaigning to have the limit lowered even more to .05%. Along with the NHTSA, the National Transportation Safety Board supports the new measures. The NTSB believes that lowering the legal BAC limit would save approximately 500-800 lives annually, but other vocal anti-drunk driving groups, like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, oppose the new proposal – believing that law enforcement officials should be concentrating their efforts at preventing DWIs elsewhere.

The debate on national and state BAC levels will continue to rage on; however, if you have been arrested and charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, please contact our law firm today. New Hampshire maintains some of the strictest DWI laws in the country, and you are going to need experienced legal representation on your side to achieve a satisfactory outcome in your case. Your initial consultation with one of our skilled New Hampshire DWI attorneys is free, so contact us today.

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What You Should Expect In Your DWI Defense Case

Today’s blog is focused on assisting you in understanding what your NH DWI lawyer will be doing in order to prepare for your DWI trial, as well as provide you with insight into what a professional and skilled DWI lawyer looks like.

While you are definitely encouraged to continue going to work and living your life as normally as possible, it is guaranteed that you will be preoccupied with your pending case. Preparing a successful defense will necessitate you meeting with your NH DWI lawyer as your case is investigated and he or she uncovers the best method of defending you against your charges.

Crafting An NH DWI Defense

Your lawyer is going to put in a lot of work before you ever attend court, and it is necessary for you to place a great deal of trust in the attorney you choose to hire. While you may only spend a handful of hours with your DWI attorney, he or she will put in many more hours of work that you will never be aware of.

Some of this workload will be standard procedures and practices that are applicable to all DWI cases, such as being trained and certified in blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing and field sobriety testing, so that he or she can have professional insight into the exact protocols they will be defending you from.

Your DWI lawyer will also spend a number of hours reading through each of the state’s documents, in addition to requesting additional info via discovery that will assist them in building a defense. Your lawyer will file all of your legal motions in an NH court and will take care of all associated paperwork.

A respected and professional New Hampshire DWI lawyer will have an extensive professional network within their community and will be regarded and respected by other judges, lawyers, and even prosecutors. You will be informed of all of your lawyer’s activities through copies of court documents and letters that are sent to you, as well as through monthly statements.

The Hiring of Private Investigators

An experienced DWI lawyer will know when it is time to seek professional assistance of a private investigator. Whether your lawyer maintains the services of a private investigator on their staff or simply has an excellent working relationship with an investigator, if he or she recommends hiring their services, even at an additional expense, trust their recommendation.

Often times, a private investigator has extensive experience working as a law enforcement official or within another related field and is hired for their ability to thoroughly analyze what occurred at a crime scene or in an accident. Moreover, they will have the capabilities required to investigate the backgrounds of the witnesses who have been called to testify against you.

Connect With Your DWI Lawyer

It is important to ensure that you employ the services of a DWI lawyer who will not leave you feeling as though your trial’s outcome would have been different if someone else had represented your case. However, you must also be realistic in your expectations. Even the most seasoned and professional DWI lawyer is not a miracle worker. At the same time, your attorney has an obligation to effectively communicate and behave professionally with you.

If you appear in the courtroom and your lawyer appears to be well-regarded by the prosecutors and the judge, take comfort in this.

Your NH DWI lawyer will not be able to convince prosecutors to drop the charges against you or behave unethically on your behalf, what it does mean is that both parties will respect your lawyer and listen if he or she has valid concerns regarding the Constitutionality or legality of your case.

Under no circumstances should you request or expect your attorney to engage in unethical behavior for the purpose of assisting your case. While you might feel as though you are willing to do anything to win your case, acting on these feelings alone can be damaging to your case and your relationship with your lawyer. Moreover, they could result in additional criminal charges.

Pleadings and Motions Filed In Your DWI Case

If you have hired a dedicated lawyer, he or she will invest time in familiarizing themselves with all the different aspects of your case.

An experienced DWI lawyer will file a variety of motions or pleadings (documents required to obtain information vital to your defense) within the court. Your lawyer will copy a prosecutor’s actions that are taken within the court, and the prosecutor then has the opportunity to respond or challenge these pleadings.

Motions and pleadings must be filed within a specific time frame and must follow a strict standard of protocols. Again, this is where it becomes essential that you have an experienced lawyer by your side. Any legal filing that your lawyer makes must be based upon facts and be relevant to constitutional and legal proceedings. The arguments your legal representation makes on your behalf will be supported by legwork and research your lawyer has conducted on prior case law or how the letter of the law should be interpreted by a New Hampshire court with regards to the intentions of the legislature.

Your NH DWI lawyer is not going to attempt to cover each available possibility. Rather, he or she will choose the most valid and relevant arguments that will either dismiss or reduce the charges against you. Arguing claims and filing frivolous motions that cannot be backed up by established case law and statutes will make your lawyer appear to be unprofessional and could potentially anger a prosecutor or judge, which would make it rather difficult to work out any type of agreement at a later date.

Calling In the Experts

It is common for NH DWI attorneys to make the decision to hire expert witnesses to testify on your behalf if he or she thinks it’s necessary. In certain cases, expert testimony can assist in swaying a jury in your favor by making it rather difficult to dismiss the probability of error, which can be enormously beneficial to your case.

For a free consultation regarding your case, please contact our law firm today.

 

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What You Need to Know About Suspended Drivers’ Licenses In New Hampshire

In the state of New Hampshire, it is illegal for you to drive or operate a motor vehicle with a suspended driver’s license. However, specific situations can arise that necessitate it. Emergencies or other circumstances can force a person to drive an automobile while their driver’s license is revoked or suspended. Certain scenarios, such as being charged with a criminal DWI offense while driving on a suspended license, will only complicate your case further, and such instances will require immediate, expert attention.

At our law firm, each of our skilled and experienced New Hampshire DWI lawyers offers thorough and comprehensive defenses for each DWI/suspended license case we handle. In addition to thoroughly investigating the unique facts that surround each case, we delve deeper into each scenario by utilizing testimonials, scientific research, and other similar legal methods to increase our likelihood of achieving a successful and satisfactory outcome.

What Does It Mean to Drive On a Suspended License?

The majority of cases involving suspended licenses that we handle arise from clients whose driving privileges were revoked due to a DWI conviction. According to the New Hampshire state statutes that govern license suspension, the legal definition of driving on a suspended license is as follows:

CHAPTER 263 — DRIVERS' LICENSES
Section 263:64 Driving After Revocation or Suspension

I. No person shall drive a motor vehicle in this state while the person's driver's license or privilege to drive is suspended or revoked by action of the director or the justice of any court in this state, or competent authority in the out-of-state jurisdiction where the license was issued.

II. A person who drives a motor vehicle in this state while such person's license or driving privilege is suspended or revoked shall be guilty of violating this section regardless of whether such person has a license on the effective date of such suspension or revocation. Evidence that the notice of suspension or revocation was sent to the person's last known address as shown on the records of the division shall be prima facie evidence that the person was notified of the suspension or revocation.

III. A person who obtains or possesses an out-of-state license after such person's New Hampshire license or driving privilege has been revoked does not revive his or her driving privilege by having such out-of-state license, and such person shall be guilty of violating this section if he or she drives in the state while his or her New Hampshire license or driving privilege is suspended or revoked.

New Hampshire’s state laws are clear on what driving on a suspended license means, but if you are charged caught driving on a suspended license, it will be a New Hampshire court that determines the severity of the penalty you face. Similar to a DWI arrest, if you are arrested for driving on a suspended license, you should not provide law enforcement officials or the authorities with any information regarding your specific case.

Any information you provide can be used against you in a court of law. As soon as you are able, you should contact an experienced DWI lawyer. Prompt communication with the right individuals could alter the penalties you face for driving on a suspended license. In some instances, your DWI attorney could have the charges dismissed altogether.

New Hampshire Crimes & License Suspension

In the state of New Hampshire, the number one reason why drivers’ licenses are suspended is because of convictions for driving while intoxicated; although, other reasons do exist. Reinstatement requirements and the duration of your license suspension will depend upon the offense of which you are convicted.

A New Hampshire motorist’s driver’s license can be suspended for the following infractions:

§  20 – 90 days for any violation if you are under 20 years old.

§  180 days to 2 years for failing or refusing to submit to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test.

§  90 days to 2 years for driving while intoxicated (or under the influence of drugs)

§  90 days to 2 years for reckless driving.

 

New Hampshire’s Penalties for Driving On a Suspended License

Regardless of whether your driver’s license was suspended for a DWI or another reason, our state’s statutes are extensive for those caught and convicted of this offense. The significant penalties that are outlined in New Hampshire’s laws include:

§  A monetary fine of up to $1,000.00

§  An increased period of driver’s license suspension

§  Driver’s license revocation

§  Mandatory jail sentences

§  A Class B felony charge

§  A misdemeanor felony charge

It is a rare person who would like to serve the penalties associated with driving on a suspended driver’s license. Most New Hampshire motorists would prefer to walk out of a courtroom without any permanent marks against their record. The answer is straightforward, but the NH legal process can become complicated. DWI charges, reckless driving charges, and habitual offenders can significantly extend the scope and length of the punishments you face. Our firm’s skilled and qualified DWI lawyers handle all aspects of DWI and driving related law. If you have a question, please contact us today. We will have the answers you seek.

Give Yourself a Break – Contact Us Today

When you trust a lawyer who has unsurpassed skills and experience in all manners of NH DWI laws, it is simple to have your fears put to rest. While many New Hampshire law firms appear to concentrate solely on the quantity of the cases they oversee, our DWI attorneys prefer to focus on the quality alone. We keep our caseloads manageable in order to investigate each unique case thoroughly. If you have been arrested for driving on a suspended license or for a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, please contact us today via telephone, email, or through our website. We will take the time to listen to your side of the story and provide you with the attention your case requires to represent you efficiently and quickly.

 

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Disclaimer: Past results do not guarantee a future outcome. Results include cases in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Attorney Dan Hynes is admitted to practice law only in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This website may be considered advertising. Contacting us does not create an attorney/client relationship. We work with other lawyers throughout Massachusetts.

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N.H. DWI Lawyers Address: Dan Hynes 206 Fair St. Laconia NH 03246 Phone: 603-384-3264