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Drunk driving, also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving under the influence (DUI), or operating under the influence (OUI), is known in the New Hampshire legal system as driving while intoxicated (DWI). If you were arrested for driving drunk, or suspected of driving drunk and looking at a possible DWI charge, you need an appropriate defense.

Whether you were actually driving drunk or not, the criminal justice system is often stacked against you if you do not have representation, or do not have fair representation. Fines, time served, community service, revocation of license, and more can be byproducts of an arrest, and can negatively impact your life, putting into jeopardy your job, your home, career prospects, your child custody, and more. Even if you made a mistake for the very first time, the legal system in New Hampshire aims to penalize you as harshly as possible. It is up to you to seek out knowledgeable representation to help you navigate the twists and turns of the New Hampshire criminal justice system.

Hiring a lawyer for your NH DWI arrest is not indicative of trying to “get off” of a conviction. Instead, an experienced attorney can help ensure that penalties are not harsh or unjust, and give you a fighting chance to tell your side of the story. A knowledgeable DWI attorney will assist you in defending against charges that will negatively affect your future prospects.

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What happens when you are pulled over on suspicion of a DWI?

You may be familiar with sobriety checkpoints and being pulled over for a traffic infraction. However, if an officer suspects you of driving under the influence, you will be asked to perform a field sobriety test, and may also be asked to perform a breathalyzer test.

When conducting yourself during a traffic stop, it is important that you treat officers respectfully and calmly. Produce information as requested, and cooperate with law enforcement officers while maintaining your rights. Remember that belligerent behavior will not bode well for any charges you may need to defend against.

Remember the following:

  1. Produce license and registration. Failure to comply with these can result in a citation and/or fine.
  2. Be cooperative. While you may need to refuse certain requests from an officer, being calm, collected, and cooperative is important. Be polite during the interaction. Don’t be rude, do not physically resist the officer, and answer any questions that will not incriminate you.
  3. Refuse field sobriety tests. These tests are designed for you to fail. Results of a test are completely subjective and dependent on the conducting officer.
  4. Refuse breath tests/breathalyzers. While in NH you may immediately be hit with a penalty for refusing a breathalyzer including revocation of license, you will have a better case for your defense if you do not submit to a breath test.
  5. Make no statements. The 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution legally protects you from self incrimination. You are not required by law to answer questions from a police officer. If you are arrested, remember that “anything you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law”.
  6. Call a qualified NH DUI lawyer. Please enter the number for Bernstein & Mello, PLLC into your contacts under “lawyer” or “attorney”: 603-945-5111

Do I have a fighting chance if I refused a breathalyzer?

Yes. Refusing a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer allows you to exert your 5th Amendment right to not incriminate yourself. Just because you may immediately be penalized with revocation of license, a temporary license suspension is still better than a permanent DWI marked on your record. Additionally, breathalyzers and breath tests can be inaccurate or inaccurately calibrated, and historically are not the most accurate determination of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Refusing a breathalyzer can be the best course of action for your defense.

Bernstein & Mello, PLLC is knowledgeable and respectful in our representation of you. We want to help you build a strong defense. Contact us today to get started on your New Hampshire DWI defense.

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