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Prosecutor accused of drunk driving forced to resign summarily

New Hampshire prosecutors have a zero-tolerance policy toward prosecuting attorneys who have been arrested for DWI. Witness the case of an assistant prosecutor in the Rockingham County Attorney's Office who was recently arrested for drunk driving. The County Attorney's Office issued a statement saying in effect that the 36-year-old man was compelled to submit his resignation.

The Manchester Police Department arrested the accused on Dec. 2 at 1:30 a.m. after he allegedly hit a parked car, say authorities. The owner of the parked car reportedly heard a loud noise and looked outside to see that the defendant's vehicle struck his car. Police say that no one was injured in the incident and the damage was moderate.

Police report that the accused was apprehended on the scene, and that they "believed" that he was impaired by alcohol or drugs. Press reports do not indicate whether the police took a blood alcohol test, field sobriety tests or other tests in support of the charges. The County Attorney's statement, issued on Dec. 4, indicated that man could no longer do his job effectively because the public's trust in his ability to make tough calls in cases assigned to him had been diminished.

At the same time, the County Attorney conceded that the accused was innocent until proved guilty under New Hampshire principles of basic criminal justice. The practical problem in defending this drunk driving case is that it will be counterintuitive for an accused prosecutor to publicly accuse the police of having insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The best approach for the accused, if the facts are there to reasonably establish conviction, is to arrange for a plea agreement in which his punishment will be minimal based on it being a first offense. He may then have some recourse in claiming that the county employer acted precipitously and illegally in compelling him to resign.

Source:, "NH assistant county attorney resigns after DWI arrest", Kristen Giddings, Dec. 4, 2017

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