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Rochester NH Legal Blog

Drug charges re heroin filed against police chief's daughter

The opioid epidemic has been uniformly destructive throughout the states, including in New Hampshire. It afflicts its victims indiscriminately, striking at all strata of society. Sometimes, people in law enforcement also suffer personal loss and trauma from the epidemic. For example, authorities recently arrested the daughter of the Berlin Police Chief on drug charges of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

The Chief, Peter Morency, is a veteran of the war on drugs, and has been engaged in that crusade for decades. Morency reportedly was shocked to find out that his 24-year-old daughter was linked to heavy drugs. The family reportedly is committed to helping the daughter get treatment for her drug addiction, according to a Berlin Police spokesperson.

ACLU defends 18 on drug charges in arrests near border

In federal and state constitutional law, it is well established that states have their own constitutions that may give individuals stronger civil rights protections than the federal constitution. Last summer, federal Customs and Border Protection agents arrested 18 people on drug charges at two New Hampshire checkpoints on Interstate 93 near the border. The checkpoints were established under federal law to identify people living in this country illegally.

Because the amount of drugs was insufficient to justify federal drug charges, the feds turned the confiscated contraband over to local New Hampshire police. The state authorities arrested the 18 on state charges, mostly for alleged possession of small amounts of marijuana. The ACLU is defending them by arguing that the searches and seizures were invalid because the state's constitution provides a greater degree of protection of privacy rights than the federal constitution.

Police say woman was felony drunk driving in fatal accident

New Hampshire State Police were busy this past New Years Eve with the expected increase in traffic accidents. One of those incidents that included a fatality occurred in the town of Milton at about 10 p.m. A 58-year-old East Wakefield man died when the car he was riding in lost control, rolled over and ejected him from the vehicle. Police later charged the driver with felony aggravated drunk driving.

The car was traveling northbound on Route 125 when the 44-year-old driver lost control of the vehicle. The police say that the car rolled over in the vicinity of the Exit 18 overpass. The man was declared dead at the scene, according to the state police. The reasons why the driver lost control are yet undetermined and the accident remains under investigation.

Motorcycle accidents with unmanned cruisers occurring more often

In New Hampshire and elsewhere throughout the country, it is becoming a reality for vehicle operators to contend with driverless auto cruisers. The wave of artificial intelligence is bringing such issues into everyday life and the problems raised are not always easily resolved. In one recent incident in another state, authorities cited and booked a motorcycle driver who was in a collision with an unmanned, autonomous car. The public has always viewed motorcycle accidents with a degree of puzzlement, so that these new factors will serve to further muddy those waters.  

An alarming statistic reports that there were 14 crashes involving Cruise Automation vehicles just during September through Nov. 2017.  The problem is that unmanned vehicles are not quite intelligent enough to react to the myriad of road conditions that can conceivably occur. With limited programming in that respect, such vehicles are not yet ready for prime time. In the meantime, their presence on the highways may be putting innocent drivers at peril, including unsuspecting motorcycle operators.

More movement at work will lower workers' compensation claims

The average worker in New Hampshire would rather be employed by a company that is safety and health conscious. No worker wants to become disabled due to a work injury and have to rely on the receipt of workers' compensation benefits. Therefore, both conscientious business owners and their workers support the introduction of safety and health measures that will reduce the numbers of work-related injuries and deaths.

Modern medical knowledge advises that one of the biggest causes of major health conditions like cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes and other conditions is the sedentary lifestyle that people experience today. A few of the other conditions that medical experts associate with constant sitting are brain deterioration, bone problems and digestive conditions. Constant sitting at work is contributing to the problem and is a factor in increasing the numbers of workplace injuries and workers' compensation claims.

Court considerations when awarding alimony

Like other states, New Hampshire provides for the possibility of an order for alimony in a divorce setting. According to section 458:19 of the Domestic Relations code, the party who is seeking the alimony must file a motion for that alimony.

The filing takes place with the court holding jurisdiction.

Car accidents can overshadow New Year's Eve revelries

New Year's Eve can be a night of stark contrasts. The height of revelry can end in darkness and destruction when car accidents intrude to deflect the evening's normally good tidings. That was the unfortunate reality for a 58-year-old male passenger in a car at about 10 p.m. on Sunday evening. The New Hampshire State Police say that the driver of the car lost control on Route 125 in Milton, rolling the car over and ejecting the passenger, who was declared deceased at the scene.

The authorities report believe that alcohol was a factor in the accident. The 44-year-old driver was minimally hurt, and she was arrested by the state police at the hospital. They charged her with felony aggravated DUI. It is unclear how the police determined that the woman was under the influence.

Man accused of drunk driving, theft and causing several crashes

In New Hampshire and all states, driving while under the influence carries punishments that increase as the severity and number of offenses occur. When people are injured or killed by a drunk driving suspect, the punishment will be enhanced exponentially. The same regimen of increasing penalties generally exists in all state statutes covering these areas of the criminal law.

Other factors that can increase the penalties are multiple, repeated offenses, and where there is an accident with property damage caused by the drunk driver. Causing multiple crashes and taking the police on a car chase through city streets is also something that causes the perpetrator's punishment to increase substantially. Some drunk drivers also insist on confronting the police and getting confrontational, which never leads to a good result. 

Car accidents in bad weather may still be caused by negligence

New Hampshire began its winter season in recent weeks with some bad weather and some gruesome accidents. In one incident on I-93, a tractor-trailer crushed the rear of a car that was stopped in a driving lane of the icy highway. The truck driver reportedly slid on ice and could not stop his vehicle in time to avoid the collision. Car accidents under bad weather conditions do not excuse negligent, at-fault drivers from monetary liability.

The 19-year-old driver of the car had stopped in the right traffic lane to allow her male passenger to take over driving because she feared the weather conditions. While they were changing places at about 6:45 p.m., the truck hit the car, smashing and compressing the rear end violently.  After hitting the car, the truck went through a guardrail and down a 100-foot slope.

Repetitive drunk driving offenses require a term of imprisonment

Repetitive drunk driving convictions in New Hampshire will likely lead to a significant sentence of imprisonment. In such cases, defense counsel has a challenging and difficult job, due to the drunk driving laws that call for understandably more serious punishment for repetitive violations. If the accused obtains the services of an experienced DUI attorney early after an offense is charged, there are several defenses that may be available to possibly keep the cumulative effect of multiple convictions to a minimum.

That is the situation faced by a 23-year-old male of Concord, who has been arrested on numerous DUI and other charges over the preceding few years. Authorities in the small community of Bow arrested him on Dec. 15, 2017 at about 9:15 p.m. on Route 3A, for alleged DUI. An officer allegedly spotted the vehicle driving erratically and pulled it over.

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