Drunk driving arrests can sometimes turn into violent incidents. That is what the New Hampshire State Police are saying about a traffic stop in Durham that turned ugly in the late evening of April 1. A trooper pulled over a man for erratic driving. After performing a field sobriety test on the driver, the officer decided to charge the driver with drunk driving. However, when the officer informed the man of the arrest, he allegedly punched her in the face.
The officer allegedly struck back in defense and then the defendant fled the scene on foot. The state police, University of New Hampshire police and the Durham police joined in looking for the fugitive for several hours during the morning of April 2. They eventually found and apprehended him at 10:56 a.m. in Exeter, in a surrender that was coordinated with the man's attorney.
The charges include felony escape, assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, disorder conduct, DWI, and other traffic offenses. It's a good example of how an apparently impaired individual can increase the penalties exponentially by being unable to control his or her behavior while in an intoxicated state. If the state can prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant's criminal defense attorney will likely advise that early plea negotiations take place.
With early cooperation and bargaining, the emphasis can be placed on any mitigating circumstances that the defendant may be able to argue pursuant to New Hampshire sentencing principles. It also is the best way to avoid a significant jail sentence, and allows for the possibility of obtaining the officer's cooperation in that respect. The court will place importance on the officer's agreement to a plea deal if it is established that the assault occurred as she claims it did. Even if the state cannot prove the drunk driving charges, the focus of the case is now upon the assault and felony escape allegations.
Source: wcvb.com, "New Hampshire man accused of punching state trooper in face", April 2, 2016