DWI/DUI Trial Lawyers in New Hampshire
We’re Prepared to Fight for You
DUI/DWI trials are generally only one or two hours in length, but they require a great deal of preparation. That preparation begins as soon as we meet the client. Our first meeting with you allows us to understand the DUI case and the facts from your perspective. Having your view helps us to better understand the police report and how to defend the case at trial. In our discussion, we will learn whether there are witnesses who can be helpful at the trial of your DWI. You can trust our New Hampshire DWI/DUI trial lawyers at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. to fight on your behalf.
Evidence Needed at DWI Trials
Once our New Hampshire DWI/DUI trial lawyers get the police report from the prosecutor, we review it to identify the weaknesses in the State’s DWI case against you. Often, it’s as much what the officer didn’t write as it is what he did write. We will use the knowledge we’ve gained from you and the police report to cross-examine the officer at your administrative license suspension hearing. We will get a transcript from that hearing, and use it to set the case up for trial. By that point, we will have locked in the officer’s testimony so they can’t throw anything new at you at your DWI/DUI trial. At trial, we aggressively cross-examine the officer and knock holes in the State’s case.
At trial, the state needs to prove all three elements of the DUI charge:
- You were operating a motor vehicle
- You were on a public way
- You were impaired
If the state can’t prove all three elements, you are found not guilty. Our attorneys have won DUI trials on all three elements. Contact a New Hampshire DWI lawyer at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. to aggressively defend against your DWI arrest. Our experienced attorneys will represent you in court and administrative license suspension hearings.
Q:What’s an administrative license suspension?
A:When you are charged with DUI/DWI, you are faced with a 6-month license suspension through the Department of Safety if you blow over .08, or if you refuse to blow – either way. You are entitled to a hearing at the Department of Safety, where the burden of proof is much lower than it is in court. You must request a hearing within 30 days, or you lose the right to have a hearing on your DUI administrative suspension.
Q:Should I take a breath test?
A:This is one of the most common questions people ask us. Unfortunately, there is no correct answer because there are so many variables. First off, the Intoxylizer 5000 breath machine that the police use is prone to user error. Second, for a variety of complicated medical reasons, the machine assumes that you have the “average” physiology. You don’t. We are all different and we all digest and burn off alcohol differently. Third, by the time the police ask you to take a breath test, you are no longer in the same condition that you were while driving. Depending on when and how much you had to drink, your BAC may be higher or lower than it was when you were actually driving. At best, the Intoxilyzer 5000 provides a rough estimate of your BAC. The penalty for refusing to take the breath test is a 6-month loss of license. This is a significant price to pay for a refusal, but in some cases it might be the best course of action. Unfortunately, no single piece of advice applies in all possible cases.
Q:Can I go to jail?
A:If you have not been convicted of a DWI before and if you are not charged with any additional crimes, then you can relax, because the answer is “no.” If you have a prior DWI conviction within the past 10 years, then the law calls for a mandatory sentence of 3 days in the county jail, followed by a one-week stay at the multiple offender program.
Q:What are the possible financial costs?
A:The financial costs of a DWI conviction can differ for everyone. For a first offense, the penalty is a mandatory fine and penalty assessment of $600, although the judge has discretion to fine you up to $1200. For a second offense that increases to a mandatory fine and penalty assessment of $900 and the judge has discretion to impose a fine of up to $2000. The financial costs of a DWI conviction go far beyond the court fines. A loss of your driver’s license can cost you your job. You can see your insurance costs increase by $500-3000. There is a cost associated with the alcohol awareness and counseling programs that are a mandatory part of any sentence that ranges from $460-1200. You would need to pay a fee to the DMV $100 to have your license reinstated and possibly pay $800 to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car. As you can see, the costs you could suffer as the result of a DWI conviction are substantial. That is another reason that you need to see an experienced lawyer to review all of your options with you.
Q:When can I get my license back?
A:Generally, people who lose their license as a result of DWI do so for two different reasons. New Hampshire’s DWI law contains minimum mandatory suspensions in the event of a conviction. For a first offense, the minimum license loss is 9 months and a maximum of 2 years. However, the suspension can be reduced to 90 days in some circumstances. For a second offense, the mandatory period of license suspension is 18 months and the maximum is 2 years. In addition to the penalty that can be imposed by a judge, a person who refuses to take a breath test is subject to administrative license suspension for 180 days. If the person has a prior refusal or DWI conviction, then the administration license suspension is for 2 years. This period is in addition to any loss of license imposed by a court. If a person takes a BAC test and receives a result of over .08 (or as low as .02 in some cases) then they also lose their license of 180 days for a first offense and 2 years for a second offense. These periods of license suspension can vary if certain circumstances exist. You should consult with an experienced DWI attorney to make sure that you know all of your options.
Q:Why did the police ask me to stand on one leg?
A:The “one-leg test” is one of several roadside tests that the police may ask you to perform. The dirty little secret that the police will not tell you about these tests is that you are not being scored on your dexterity alone. You are also be scored on whether you followed the directions perfectly, whether you were able to stand without swaying when the instructions were being given, and several other factors as well. The police call these “divided attention tests” because they believe that the presence of alcohol diminishes your ability to perform multiple tasks at once. It is misleading for the police not to tell you this, but they do it anyway.
Q:If I lose my license, can I drive to work?
A:New Hampshire law has no provision for a “work-only” or “daylight” driver’s license.
Q:How will my DWI/DUI lawyer get paid?
A:Like most criminal law cases, DUI/DWI cases are typically handled on a hourly or flat fee arrangement.