Understanding the DUI Process
Legal Assistance from a New Hampshire DWI Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged for driving under the influence (DUI)
of drugs or alcohol, it is important to understand the DUI process. A
New Hampshire DWI attorney with years of experience can help you understand the DUI law and procedure
that is covered under
Title XXI Motor Vehicles §265-A:2. In New Hampshire, it is a crime for any person to operate a motor vehicle
while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance.
DUI investigations occur in phases and begin even before a motor vehicle
stop where the officer is looking for clues consistent with driver impairment.
Where there is reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime or
other motor vehicle offense, a police officer or trooper may stop your
vehicle. They are trained to observe clues for impairment during the "stopping
sequence" of the case and as you pull to the side of the road. When
an officer makes first contact with you, they continue to build their
case, making observations of odor of alcohol, blood shot and glassy eyes
and slow, slurred or deliberate speech. An officer will typically ask
you if you have had something to drink or whether you have been using
drugs. They also conduct a divided attention test, where they ask you
to do two things at once, such as retrieve your license and motor vehicle
registration, making observations of your ability to do so.
Where there is suspicion to continue the investigation, police officers
ask that you step from the vehicle to conduct
Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs), making observations of you as you exist the vehicle. On the roadside,
officers often conduct three standardized field sobriety tests as well
as other tests that our defense lawyers see from time to time. These tests
include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN), the Nine Step Walk and
Turn Test (W&T) and the One Leg Stand Test (OLS). Police officers
are trained to observe specific clues for impairment during each of these
tests. In addition to these tests, New Hampshire law enforcement occasionally
asks a suspect to submit to a
Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) on the roadside. Based on performance on these and other tests, law enforcement
build probable cause to base an arrest for drunk or impaired driving.
Following an OUI arrest, you are transported to the police station or state
police barrack where the officer reviews the administrative
license suspension process with you.
You then have a decision regarding whether to submit to a breath, blood
or urine test or whether to refuse that test. The officer has discretion
in New Hampshire regarding which of these tests to request. A refusal
of the test or submitting to a test with a result exceeding the
per se limit will trigger an administrative license suspension of 180 days for
a first offense and 2 years for a second offense.
Additionally, you will likely be charged with the criminal offense of
Aggravated DWI or Subsequent Offense DWI, depending on the circumstances of your case
and your prior record. You will be given bail paperwork identifying a
first court hearing or an arraignment. You will also typically be given
an administrative license suspension form which acts as your temporary
privilege to drive. However, that temporary privilege to drive is good
for only 30 days. Within that 30-day period, you have the right to request
an administrative hearing from the Department of Safety in order to contest
the administrative license suspension. You must also determine how best
to defend the criminal charge of DWI in court.
Former Prosecutors & Seasoned Criminal Defense Lawyers On Your Side
Our New Hampshire DWI attorneys include former prosecutors who defend drunk
driving cases week in and week out in court and in administrative hearings.
They have been trained regarding DWI investigations, Field Sobriety Testing
and trial advocacy and apply that training to defending their DWI cases.
They are proud of their results, regularly avoiding long term license
losses, criminal convictions and even jail for their clients. They try
their cases when necessary and regularly win them.
If you are facing DWI charges,
contact our firm to speak with a New Hampshire DWI attorney.