Scientific Issues to Consider in DWI Cases

New Hampshire DWI Attorneys Explain Scientific Evidence

Increasingly, the state relies on scientific evidence to prove drunk driving and impaired driving cases. In traditional cases, the state seeks to administer a breath test at the police station or state police barrack. The machine used by law enforcement in New Hampshire is known as the "Intoxilyzer 5000" and it is not infallible. It requires a specific waiting period, instructions to the subject of the test, regular maintenance and calibration and administration by a certified breath test operator.

Critically, this machine tests alcohol content at the time the test is taken and not at the time that a suspect was actually operating a motor vehicle. During the time in between, alcohol content can change, sometimes dramatically. It is possible for alcohol content to rise in the time that it takes for the police to administer the test. Collecting information regarding a client's height, weight, alcohol and food consumption may permit our attorneys to enlist an expert to challenge breath test evidence.

Additional Factors in Your Driving While Intoxicated Case

In addition to the typical test at the station, certain New Hampshire police officers and state troopers seek to administer a test on the roadside, known as a preliminary breath test (PBT). There are several different PBT devices in use in New Hampshire and the state's own training materials call into question the reliability of this type of testing. Preliminary breath testing implicates important constitutional concerns. This type of test does not create a second sample for independent analysis by our defense team. This defect results in constitutional and statutory challenges to the admissibility of such evidence, arguments that our attorneys have won in New Hampshire courts.

More and more, New Hampshire law enforcement officers and state troopers are requesting that our clients submit to blood testing to examine both blood alcohol content in addition to the possible presence of controlled drugs. In drug related impairment cases, the State tends to rely on an expert to offer an opinion that the presence of certain drugs at certain levels will result in impairment. In our experience, the State often overreaches in coming to such opinions.

At Shaheen & Gordon, P.A., our New Hampshire DWI defense attorneys frequently rely on experts in the field to counter this evidence, an effort which can both result in an effective defense at trial and an improved negotiating position.

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