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Woman arrested for drunk driving after passing out in car

In New Hampshire, one does not necessarily have to be caught in the process of driving to justify an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. It is possible to be arrested and convicted of drunk driving even if a person is confronted by the police after exiting the vehicle. This rule may even apply if the person is found sleeping in a parked vehicle.

That principle would apply of course in all instances where a police officer spots a person driving erratically and does not confront the person until after he or she has pulled over and stopped driving. However, it may in some circumstances also apply if the police come upon a person they did not observe driving, who is, for example, passed out on the steering wheel of a parked or stopped car. The latter example is how it came about recently for a 46-year-old Merrimack woman.

The Merrimack police found her slumped over the steering wheel of her vehicle. She was also unresponsive and had to be revived. The facts are not clear, but it appears that in this case the driver may have passed out in the driving lane. That may be indicated by reports that the Merrimac Fire and Rescue teams were on the scene when the police arrived.

The police indicate that after they woke the driver, they questioned her and determined that she was impaired. They arrested her for drunk driving under New Hampshire criminal provisions. She was released on recognizance bail after being processed. The relatively minor bail arrangements indicate that there was no accident, injuries and possibly that the accused has no prior violations. Defending against a DUI violation should not be attempted without the services of a knowledgeable attorney who has experience in handling such matters.

Source: Merrimack, NH Patch, "Merrimack Woman Bagged for OUI", Tony Schinella, April 12, 2017

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