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Car accidents are best settled by experienced professionals

When a drunk driver crosses the yellow line and crashes into oncoming traffic, that driver is clearly negligent and liable for injuries caused by the accident pursuant to New Hampshire law. In some car accidents, two or more drivers are considered negligent and the degree of causation attributed to each driver will be determined. However, in the foregoing DWI scenario, those who were driving in their own lane and in the proper direction cannot be assigned any degree of negligence.

In a recent accident, authorities charged a 60-year-old man with aggravated driving while intoxicated after he crossed the center line near his home on East Road in Hampstead. His pickup truck crashed into a car coming in the opposite direction. A 51-year-old woman was operating her vehicle when struck by the intruding pickup truck. She suffered serious injuries and was hospitalized. Her 13-year-old male passenger was also transported for medical attention but reportedly had injuries that were not considered life threatening.

Felony drunk driving may be defended if causation is lacking

Driving while intoxicated is a significant criminal violation in New Hampshire. While a first offense without an accident or personal injury is a misdemeanor that will result in a less severe punishment, the penalties for drunk driving increase as the circumstances become more serious. Furthermore, there are more rigorous sentencing prescriptions for each subsequent violation that a person incurs.

Significant punishment is provided for those situations where the drunk driving violation is accompanied by an accident where there is serious bodily injury or death. The charge of aggravated DWI resulting in serious bodily injury is prosecuted as a class B felony. When the driver's intoxicated driving causes an accident resulting in death, the offense is charged and prosecuted as a class A felony.

Can a blood test produce the wrong results?

One question lawyers, scientists, and others who are involved in the legal system face is about the accuracy of various methods used to collect and analyze evidence. From DNA to blood tests, hair comparisons, and fingerprints, the various techniques used by police and forensic investigators are complex, and while they may be powerful, they are not error-free. No matter how well-refined these processes become, the fact is that no method of evidence collection and analysis can be infallible because there is always the possibility for human error in the process.

Drunk driving charges escalate to a felony in a death case

The driving while intoxicated laws in New Hampshire are strict and complicated. As with all jurisdictions, the more serious the incident, the higher the penalties and consequences. In addition, repeated drunk driving offenses will increase the penalties.

The offense for driving while intoxicated with a resulting collision that causes serious bodily injury or death of  another is called felony aggravated driving while intoxicated. The crime carries a potential term of imprisonment from three and one-half to seven years. Of course, the prosecution must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Man arrested on felonies is charged in 6 bank robberies

Identification is generally an important issue in many bank robbery prosecutions here in New Hampshire and elsewhere. Those who rob banks usually make some effort to disguise themselves. In the recent arrest of a man for several felonies associated with his allegedly committing six recent bank robberies in two states, however, published photos show no apparent disguise. They are allegedly relevant to identification of the robber, but there is no indication by the photos of anything other than a normal bank transaction between a man and a teller.

The photos also show no unusual movements or apparent demanding behavior by the suspect. He has no weapon and does not appear threatening or even communicative in any manner. If the photos are indeed depicting a bank robber and if the suspect is the same person, then defense counsel and the defendant may conclude that plea bargaining should be attempted. The defendant has the authority to make the final decision regarding whether to enter a guilty plea or go to trial.  

Sweep nets 14 arrests for drug charges in Manchester raids

New Hampshire authorities, assisted by local and federal law enforcement agencies, conducted a "Granite Hammer" raid recently in Manchester. This was the second raid conducted since October. This crime sweep netted 14 arrests, most of them on drug charges.

The suspects ranged in age from 20 through 58. Authorities pegged the arrests as part of a joint effort of state, federal and local law enforcement targeting drugs. However, at least three and possibly more of the arrests involved traffic stops, per the press reports apparently taken from police records. It is difficult to see how a random traffic stop would be part of a drug sweep planned in advance.

Premises liability does not extend to adjoining roadways

Can a business in New Hampshire or another state be held liable for not providing enough parking? Where a customer was killed walking to his car across a state highway after leaving a concert venue in an adjacent building, was the landowner liable to the deceased concert-goer?  One state appellate court has recently ruled that the business is not liable because there is no legal duty owed under premises liability law by the landowner to the business invitee.

The three-judge appellate panel decided that the law of premises liability does not require a landowner to protect its invitees from dangers on adjoining roadways. The decedent decided to leave a concert on defendant's property early in the show. The concert was on the left side of State Route 309, and the man was crossing the highway when it happened.

Police deliver drug charges to 2 Burger King workers

New Hampshire has not liberalized its drug laws regarding marijuana despite the movement by many states to adopt and implement medical marijuana, and the actions of several other states to legalize pot for recreational use. While possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor, drug charges involving the intent to sell marijuana are charged as a felony, exposing the accused to up to three years in jail. The state did approve medical marijuana in 2013, but it still has not been implemented.

Two young adults are likely worrying about the state of the marijuana laws in New Hampshire after being arrested recently for conspiracy to distribute marijuana from the drive-in window of a local Burger King in Rockingham County. It is reported that authorities received reports of sales of marijuana taking place from the drive-in window at Burger King. An undercover officer allegedly purchased a small amount of pot by using the code words "fries extra crispy."

Drug charges in pot cases require new defense strategies

Some critics say that evolving societal values do not justify the government in New Hampshire and elsewhere from continuing to arrest and prosecute people suspected of growing marijuana on their residential properties. The argument is taking on increasing influence as more states are voting to legalize pot and to authorize the regulated use of medical marijuana. In that context, the argument may be at least partially relevant to the defense of a 47-year-old Portsmouth man who has been arrested by police on drug charges for allegedly growing 51 marijuana plants in the basement of his home.

What makes this case and others problematic is that the defendant has been charged with two counts of felony drug charges. With less serious misdemeanors, expungement and other alternative dispositions may be available, whereas a felony conviction is a scar that is rarely overcome. Glowing reports of miraculous medical cures associated with medical marijuana, along with the fact that several states have now voted to legalize the herb for recreational use, make the prospect of felony charges for growing pot increasingly subject to policy conflicts.

Manslaughter charge may invoke several criminal defense issues

New Hampshire, like all other states, provides for various degrees of homicide in its criminal laws. The spectrum of charges and the severity of punishment depends generally on the degree of the defendant's criminal intent alleged by the government. These issues are also determined by how egregious, wanton and/or premeditated were the defendant's alleged actions. Criminal defense counsel looks at these factors while framing the most effective and aggressive defense or plea negotiation posture that can be asserted.

That process will generally be relevant in the recent arrest of a 25-year-old man who is charged in the homicide death of a 57-year-old social services worker who resided in Alstead. Cheshire County authorities say that the two people knew each other, but no other facts were released regarding their relationship. The decedent was found dead in his home of a gunshot wound to the head.

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