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Drunk driving punishment can get steep after repeated offenses

A man may face serious repercussions from the slew of charges he incurred in recent events on Interstate 93 in New Hampshire. The Peabody man was arrested for drunk driving and other charges after engaging in high speed chases described by the police. They allegedly saw him traveling at rates up to 100 mph in a snow-zone with a reduced rate of 45 mph.

After passing an officer while speeding, he reportedly almost hit another car and then slammed his breaks and crashed into a snow bank. He apparently bounced back onto the highway and sped away at a high rate. The state police officer observed the vehicle and gave chase. The driver had to slow down due to slow traffic caused by an earlier accident he allegedly caused.

He did again get away, police say, and reached 98 mph before being stopped 1.5 miles later. Authorities arrested him on charges of disobeying an officer, operating under driver's license suspension and having an open container of beer. He was also charged with reckless operation and subsequent offense drunk driving.

The blood alcohol percentage limit in New Hampshire is .08 percent. It is unknown what the man's blood alcohol reading was at that point. Police allegedly determined that he had a prior offense and was driving with an already-suspended license. The penalties and punishment in New Hampshire for drunk driving increase, depending on the severity of the events and the number of prior offenses.

Assuming that the government can prove these reported facts. there could likely be a significant mandatory jail sentence pursuant to the drunk driving laws of New Hampshire. The man's driver's license could be suspended for a long time, based on what appears to be a prior record, driving while under suspension and other egregious activities. An accused may, however, sometimes see several of the charges in a multi-charge indictment dismissed or eliminated if experienced DWI counsel is retained for representation. That depends on the surrounding circumstances and whether there are any mitigating facts in favor of the accused. 

Source: CBS Boston, "Alleged Drunk Driver Speeds Away From Police On Snowy NH Highway", Feb. 11, 2017

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