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Drunk driving charge filed against driver with suggestive shirt

From 2003 through 2012, 399 deaths in New Hampshire involved a drunk driver, according to federal statistics. The state's laws on drunk driving are therefore intended to be tough and to prevent offenders from repeat violations. One recent arrest involved a 29-year-old man arrested by Kensington Police on allegations of impaired driving.

Authorities accuse the man of traveling south of a local roadway when he crossed the median and went into northbound traffic. He left the roadway altogether and drove through a stone wall and a granite post, coming to stop against a utility pole. Police charged him with driving while intoxicated. The police say that both speed and alcohol were involved.

In New Hampshire, there are certain circumstances that warrant a charge of "aggravated DWI," which is an offense that carries with it a higher risk of significant jail time, increased fines and other impositions. One of the conditions requiring a charge of aggravated DWI is driving 30 mph over the speed limit. It is unknown whether the defendant could have violated that provision, but it will be a concern of his criminal defense counsel who will have to prepare to fight against any attempt to use that provision.

Another provision that can enhance the punishment for drunk driving under New Hampshire law is where the driver gets involved in a collision that causes serious injury to another. Here, the collision did not injure anyone else, but the defendant himself was treated for what appear to be bruises. That would not arguably be enough to turn this into an aggravated offense. A notable aspect of the arrest, published widely in the press, was the fact that the man wore a T-shirt that said, "This guy needs a beer," which was certainly a provocation that did not help him. On the other hand, defense counsel would likely argue that there is no substantive proof of impairment from the mere wearing of a piece of clothing.

Source:, "Man wearing "This guy needs a beer" shirt arrested for driving while intoxicated", Kevin Slane, April 25, 2016

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