DUI Defense Attorney in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
We all know that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited by law and has the potential to cause serious injury or even death. Yet we all make mistakes and even the most responsible among us can make irresponsible decisions every now and again. For example, in 2021, there were 4,065 DUI arrests made in the state according to the New Hampshire State Police. DUI arrests can lead to convictions, which can lead to serious consequences.
If you’re facing drunk driving charges and are in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire area, reach out to Wiberg Law Office, PLLC to speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer about your options. Attorney Wiberg is also able to represent clients in the surrounding areas of Rockingham County, Strafford County, Hillsborough, Dover, and Manchester.
DUI Charges in New Hampshire
A DUI/DWI charge (note that both terms, driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated, tend to be used interchangeably) is a very serious offense and one that should be handled by a professional. Like most states, New Hampshire sets limits on how much alcohol you can have in your system while still being legally able to operate a vehicle. For most drivers, this is set at 0.08% BAC (blood alcohol concentration), but for commercial drivers, the legal limit is 0.04%. If the driver is under the age of 21, the legal limit is further reduced to only 0.02% BAC.
However, a DUI covers more than just driving while under the influence of alcohol. A DUI can include other drugs as well. That said, there is no pre-set legal limit for these, and the law simply states that if you’re “under the influence” of other drugs—prescribed or illegal—and your ability to drive has been “impaired,” you can also receive a DUI.
In rare cases, you may even be arrested for a DUI when you weren’t actually driving. This is sometimes referred to as being in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. For example, if you pull over on the side of the road to sleep because you realized you were too impaired to drive, you could still get arrested if you were in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition. However, New Hampshire’s laws typically protect someone who’s pulled over to rest—but it’s always a good idea to move out of the driver’s seat first.
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Sobriety Tests and Your Rights
One common way the prosecution might attempt to prove your guilt at trial will be to use the result of sobriety tests. Many people falsely believe that you have to comply with anything the arresting officer asks you to when they pull you over, but this is not true. There are different kinds of tests you may encounter:
Chemical tests: The most common chemical test is in the form of a breathalyzer. This is a device that you blow into that registers the amount of alcohol in your system. Every state in the country has what’s called an implied consent law which says that anytime you operate a vehicle on the state’s roads, you automatically agree to take a chemical test if you’re pulled over on suspicion of driving while impaired on drugs or alcohol. While you can technically refuse this, it will likely lead to a license suspension regardless of whether or not you’re later found guilty of the DUI.
Field sobriety tests (FST): Another type of test a law enforcement official may ask you to perform is a field sobriety test. You are not required to comply with these. The three most common tests are the horizontal-gaze-nystagmus, walk-and-turn, and the one-leg-stand. You can politely and calmly refuse to do these tests as they are often unreliable and the results can be misinterpreted easily.
Possible DUI penalties in New Hampshire include fines, jail time, license suspension or license revocation, or having to complete an impaired driver intervention program. Penalties will grow more severe if you have past DUI convictions on your record or if the DUI is considered an “aggravated” crime.
Ignition Interlock Program
In many cases, those convicted of a DUI will be required to participate in an ignition interlock program. This requires you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car that you must blow into each time in order for the car to start. In some cases, it’s up to the judge’s discretion whether or not to include this in your sentence. However, in New Hampshire, if you’re convicted of an aggravated DUI, you typically must have an IID for one to two years. Additionally, if you’re under the age of 21 and convicted of a DUI, you must have an IID until you turn 21.
DUI Defense Attorney in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
For DUI defense help in and around the Portsmouth, New Hampshire area, reach out to Wiberg Law Office, PLLC. With over 30 years of experience in the legal profession, Attorney Wiberg offers skilled representation and a commitment to seeing your case through to the end.