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Drunk driving charge often starts with a traffic violation stop

Most drunk driving arrests are not accompanied by dramatic police pursuits through the streets of a New Hampshire town, although admittedly that kind of aberration is being reported more often in recent months and years. Most drunk driving arrests, however, stem from relatively routine traffic violations. The probable cause to arrest a vehicle operator comes only in the aftermath of a traffic stop, which is usually quite routine at first.

It is in the questioning of the individual that the officer may begin to piece together the conclusions of drunk driving. One of the first signs that the police point to in justifying a drunk driving investigation is the smell of alcohol on the operator's breath. Almost equally prevalent is the citing of blood-shot eyes and slurred speech.

These observations are generally sufficient to justify a probable cause, finding sufficient evidence to compel the driver out of the car for a field test. After that, a blood alcohol test may be performed with a Breathalyzer device. The threshold blood alcohol percentage limit in New Hampshire is .08 percent. With that amount and higher, there is a presumption of drunk driving. However, there are many defenses that can come into play in a traffic stop for suspected drunk driving.

That is why an accused person will benefit greatly from a consultation with a criminal defense counsel who regularly defends New Hampshire drunk driving prosecutions. The foregoing factors may be relevant with respect to a recent DUI arrest of a 32-year-old man by the Merrimack Police Department. He was stopped for undisclosed "motor vehicle violations," according to a Merrimack police spokesperson. The details of the case are sparsely reported, but the report appears to indicate that no unusual or egregious facts occurred. If the man has no prior record, and if a defense to the charges is not feasible, a comprehensive plea agreement done early in the process, and with sincere intent to comply, will allow him to come out of the process without severe punishment or repercussions.

Source: Merrimack, NH Patch, "Texas Man Charged with Drunk Driving", Tony Schinella, May 4, 2017

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