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Former state senator crashes car, nabbed for drunk driving

DUI in New Hampshire, like in other states, is set up to reflect a stiffer sentence for repeat violations. There is also a more severe punishment for aggravated DUI where the blood alcohol level is .16 or above. Generally, a first offense for drunk driving carries no jail sentence and provides for a fine of $500 plus other costs. There is also an automatic driver's license suspension of nine months to two years.

Alcohol and drug abuse screening is required on a first offense and further protocols are then imposed on the accused if the results show a drug or alcohol problem. These protocols involve rehabilitation programs for impairment problems. With all of that said, it is always a dramatic event when a politician in state government must face the music of being arrested for drunk driving.

According to the Derry police, a former state senator, Jim Rausch, was arrested and charged with DUI after he allegedly crashed his vehicle on Island Pond Road on Aug. 6. When police arrived, they found the former state senator, with visible scrapes and abrasions, standing by his vehicle. According to the Derry police, they arrested Rausch after further investigation at the scene.

The officer indicated that Rausch showed visible signs of alcohol impairment. Press reports have not initially given any other details, such as the man's blood alcohol reading. He is scheduled to have a hearing on the charges in the 10th Circuit Court, Derry District, on Oct. 27. Rausch told a reporter that he was going to get ready for his day in court.

He also stated that he has hired a lawyer, has never been in trouble before and that he would not make a statement. There is one method of avoiding a drunk driving conviction and that is through the "wet reckless" plea bargain. In New Hampshire, an individual may eliminate the DUI charge in plea negotiations in favor of a guilty plea to reckless driving charges. It is currently unknown whether he qualifies for that procedure, and the situation is complex enough that he will have to go through with the assistance of counsel. 

Source: unionleader.com, "Former state senator arrested and charged with DUI", Hunter McGee, Sept. 12, 2016

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