Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year's 2014 in New Hampshire - Avoid DUI - Driver Safety Tips

Ways to Stay Safe and on the Right Side of the Law This New Year’s Eve 2014

New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration all over the world. It is traditional to have a few drinks to ring in the New Year and it is the biggest party night of the year for both bars and house parties. Between the presence of alcohol and potential bad winter weather, New Year’s Eve is also a dangerous time to be on the road. Not only is there an increase in the likelihood of being in an accident, but there is an increased chance of being charged with a DUI. With a few helpful tips you can stay safe and also stay out of trouble with the police as you start off 2015.
 
New Year’s Driving Fatalities 

The statistics may be surprising to some. Nearly 42% of all fatalities on New Year’s Eve are related to drunk driving. This includes both drivers under the influence, their passengers, innocent drivers, and pedestrians. In fact, it is the most dangerous night to be out walking on the roadways due to the increased presence of drivers under the influence and weather conditions. On average, there are roughly 140 deaths on the roads on this one night alone.
The greatest tip a driver or pedestrian can utilize to avoid being involved in an accident is to be prepared and alert. Staying on your game and focused on the road and other drivers can help you stay safe. You should ensure that everything works properly on your car also, particularly headlights and brake lights. Staying off the roads if the weather is bad and staying on routes you are familiar with can help keep you and others safe while the world is ringing in the New Year.

Do Not Drink and Drive


To avoid getting a DUI or being involved in a drunk driving accident, the first and foremost piece of advice is to not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. Finding a designated driver, calling a cab, or using public transportation can keep you out of jail and from starting out the New Year with a criminal record. If you do drink, do so responsibly and know your limit. Give yourself time to sober up before heading home and make sure you take a familiar route that has the least amount of traffic. This is for your safety and the safety of others. If you do get pulled over, the best way to avoid a DUI charge is to be polite and respectful, yet know your rights. You do not have to submit to a field sobriety test and can state that you would like to contact a lawyer before speaking.

The New Year is a time of reflection on the year that is passing and a time of excitement for the possibilities of what 2015 can bring to you and your loved ones. Start 2015 out with your own safety and the safety of others in mind by avoiding an accident and avoiding a DUI incident. If you do become an accident victim or end up facing a DUI, having an experienced DUI attorney explain your rights and options can be the best way to put the incident behind you as soon as possible.

By Shepherd and Osborne

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Celebration in New Hampshire 2014 - Avoid DUI


Don’t Let a DUI Ruin Your Halloween Celebration

Halloween is no longer just about hordes of children running the streets dressed like ghouls and goblins looking for sweets. Halloween is becoming an adult holiday just as much as remaining a traditional holiday for kids. It isn’t uncommon to see bars and other adult establishments advertise ‘best costume’ contests and devilish mixed drink specials. This year, Halloween falls on a Friday night, which means there may be a likely increase in the number of costumed revelers enjoying adult beverages. When Halloween and a Friday night combine, there can be an increase in DUI arrests. It is important to learn how to avoid getting a DUI so you can enjoy the party and costumes without facing harsh legal consequences or putting yourself and others in danger.

Designate a Driver

The first and foremost tip for Halloween partiers is to either rely on a cab or a designated driver to help you get to the parties and then home safely. However, this isn’t always an option as some people may unexpectedly find themselves behind the wheel after drinking. While this is never ideal, there are ways avoid getting arrested and posing for a mug shot rather than a costumed selfie.

It can be helpful to be aware that it is a Friday night and police will be patrolling after bars close. You can consciously avoid where police will logically be located. Also, be sure your car is in legally working condition. Police can’t just pull you over for no reason or based on a hunch that you may have left a party or bar. However, if your taillight is out or your registration is outdated, they can and will pull you over regardless of how cautious you may be driving.
  
If Pulled Over – Keep Cool

If avoidance and a perfectly legal and safe car still leads to being pulled over, your attitude and behavior can play a large role in whether you are charged or not, or even how severe the evidence may be against you. It is important to always be polite and respectful to the officer. You can comply with requests to hand over your license and registration without risking your rights. You can state that you do not wish to take a field sobriety test if you feel it would only increase suspicion. There may be a perfectly logical reason you can’t take one, such as health issues or weather that would make it difficult to perform the test. It is within your rights to explain the reason for declining or you can simply choose to not give a reason. Far too many people assume they have to take the test even though the results are subjective and count against them.

Aside from declining a field sobriety test, declining to answer any questions about drinking can help you avoid a DUI. You can politely state that you wish to speak to an attorney rather than discuss anything further. While this doesn’t absolve you from being arrested, it can greatly minimize evidence and also decrease your chances of being convicted if charged.

Statistics

Keep in mind that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says nearly half of motor vehicle fatalities on Halloween are alcohol related. The best way to stay safe is to avoid the possibility of having to drive drunk. However, if you do find yourself in that situation, knowing your rights and knowing how beneficial having a skilled DUI attorney on the case can be is vital to avoiding the repercussions of a DUI arrest.

By

Shepherd & Osborne

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Cell Phone Law Coming To New Hampshire July 2015


Hang Up and Drive Law in NH

Driving while talking on a cell phone has been known to cause serious accidents, so a number of jurisdictions have made it illegal for motorists to engage in that kind of behavior. It’s not surprising that new regulatory laws in the United States have placed a certain number of restrictions on the use of cell phones by motorists.

Thankfully, the federal government has allowed each state to create its own laws regarding the use of cell phones in moving vehicles. Individual states have jurisdictional discretion over the use of cell phones by drivers on their roads.


States That Prohibit Hand Held Devices

Currently, only 13 states prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. That is, until July of 2015, which is when the new cell phone law goes into effect in the state of New Hampshire. The Law Office of Shepherd and Osborne in Nashua NH are advising its clients of the new cell phone ban. The popular firm employs the top motor vehicle offense attorneys in the Granite State.

Drivers in New Hampshire will be allowed to use Bluetooth devices and devices that are built into vehicles, but they will be restricted from using any hand-held phone. Drivers will not be allowed to use a cell phone even if they are at a stop light or a stop sign.

When the law goes into effect, it will be the most comprehensive distracted driving bill in the nation, according to legislative testimony from Earl Sweeney who is an assistant commissioner of public safety. New Hampshire joins the ranks of the other 13 states that prohibit cell phone use while driving. Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia also prohibit drivers from using hand-held devices to make or receive calls, send text messages, or search the Internet.

The Details of the Law

New Hampshire’s new hands free law has a “primary enforcement” provision which means any police officer in the state can write a citation to any motorist that’s caught talking or texting on a cell phone while driving. Violators will be fined $100 for the first offense and $250 for the second offense. Drivers that continue to violate the law will be charged $500 for subsequent violations within a 24-month period.

According to the attorneys at Shepherd & Osborne there are two exceptions to the law. Drivers are allowed to make an emergency call to 911, and drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from talking on a cell phone, regardless if they are using a hands-free device or not. The emergency call provision allows drivers to dial 911 and speak to an emergency operator while they are still in motion.
 
For a Complete List of States That Have Banned Cell Phone Use Visit
: http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html

By Shepherd and Osborne



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Friday, August 29, 2014

When is Labor Day in NH? - Monday 9/1/14 - Labor Day Safety Tips & Events


Safety Tips for a Fun-Filled Holiday in the Granite State

Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. It is typically the last chance to throw a huge barbeque and pool party and to take a weekend getaway before school starts and the weather gets cooler. There are plenty of events across the state of New Hampshire to enjoy with the family. Because almost everyone makes plans to travel somewhere or plans to enjoy one last large gathering, Labor Day can also be a dangerous weekend. There are ways to get the most out of the long weekend and keep everyone safe at the same time.

Events

There are several large events in New Hampshire that may require caution when traveling to enjoy. For those looking for rides, concerts, and family fun, the Lancaster Fair and the Just Ducky End of Summer Bash in Waterville, New Hampshire are idea destinations. For the craft lovers, a trip to the 25th Annual Craft Fair at the Bay and a visit to the Craft and Artisan Festival are both popular Labor Day destinations. There is also a craft fair in Contoocook NH. When traveling on the roadways to get to any of these events, always make sure you are well-rested and not distracted as being tired and distracted accounts for a great many car accidents. Also, be aware of the behavior of other drivers. If other drivers appear impaired, distracted, or are driving aggressively, keep a safe distance and call for help if necessary. Another driving tip is to be sure you and everyone else in the car is restrained properly. Taking your time is also important as rushing to get to somewhere causes accidents. The most important tip for drivers is to never drink and drive. Always plan ahead for a designated driver for your safety and the safety of everyone else on the road. This year, the National Safety Council Predicts that just over 400 car fatalities will occur over Labor Day weekend. Police announced there will be a sobriety checkpoint this weekend in Portsmouth NH area which was authorized by a Rockingham County Superior Court judge. By following these simple travel tips, you can avoid becoming a statistic and also avoid any unwanted legal troubles.

Safety Tips

There are other dangers associated with Labor Day. Some of these dangers can lead to serious injuries or put you in a position where you can be held liable for someone else’s injuries. Backyard barbeques are a given over the holiday weekend. Propane grills should always be used properly and by an adult. A propane accident can lead to burns and damage to a house. For those with a pool or attending a party at a pool, caution is also advised. There should always be an adult around if children are swimming. Responsible use of devices in a pool and safe play is also advised, as is refraining from drinking and swimming. Swimming or diving while under the influence can simply be deadly. Anyone with a pool should be aware of the liability if there are any injuries in the pool. The same cautions are advised for lakes or the ocean. You should always swim with others and not venture into lakes or larger bodies alone. Boat safety practices should also be followed. Boat accidents are not uncommon in New Hampshire as many people turn to boats for the perfect last summer weekend getaway. One big precaution is to never operate a boat while intoxicated. This is for your own safety and the safety of others.

Enjoy Time with Friends & Family

Labor Weekend should end with great memories and not become the memory of an incident you would rather forget. When accidents occur or when someone is injured due to the negligence or recklessness of another, whether it is on the road, in the water, or at a holiday barbeque, everyone involved should know their rights and what kind of legal action may be needed to right a wrong or compensate for damages or injuries. Keeping common sense safety tips in mind can ensure Labor Day weekend is safe and fun for everyone.


By Shepherd and Osborne



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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Celebrating 91 Years - NH Bike Week in Laconia 2014


With more than 90 years under its belt and counting, the annual Laconia Bike Week in New Hampshire which starts this year on June 14th and ends June 22nd is often considered the Oldest National Motorcycle Rally and is one of the biggest bike events in the United States. Every year, motorcycle enthusiasts gather together at the event for live concert, contests, rallies, bike shows, and more. But, when did the Laconia Bike Week actually start?

The Laconia Bike Week was officially established in the 1920s, but it can trace its root a few years back in 1916. In 1916, a larger group of bikers gathered together at the Weirs for several days during the summer time. The year after, the Federation of American Motorcyclists sanctioned the Gypsy Tour and a hill climb along with other races were held around the Lakes Region.

As the 1920s and 1930s, the tour continued to gain popularity as more and more events, races, and shows were promoted during the tour. In the late 1930s, road racing was established; attracting more bikers from around the country and the tour was renamed to Laconia Motorcycle Week

After the 1940s and onwards, the Laconia Motorcycle Week's popularity continued to increase as motorcycling became a counter cultural icon, and in the 1990s the event was officially stated to end on Father's Day, however it is currently set to start on Father's Day.

Where to Stay During Laconia Bike Week

Laconia is a small area with a limited amount of lodging, so it is best to book ahead in late winter before you attend Laconia Bike Week. Make sure you send out emails to smaller, family owned establishments as they are seasonal and may not answer phone calls.

You can also check out the Laconia Bike Week Insider for information on hotels and campgrounds in the area, organized by their distance to the Weirs Beach. Make sure you check out the full list of lodging for bike week.

Hotels and campgrounds that are within one mile of the action include Paugus Bay Campground, Lake Winnipesaukee Motel, Bay Top Motel, Proctors Lakehouse Cottage, and the Summit Resort.

How to Avoid DWI

Along with the fun and excitement of Laconia Bike Week is quite a bit of drinking. Although drinking is common at the event, it can become a legal problem as many attendees face being arrested for a NH DWI. Follow these following commonsense tips to prevent the risk for a DWI arrest:

•    Wait at least 6 hours after drinking before you drive
•    Eat a good meal before drinking
•    Have the phone number to a local cab company
•    Limit the amount of alcohol you consume
•    Assign a designated driver

If you need to go somewhere but you are not sober, ask someone who is.
If you do have an encounter with police and get arrested for a DUI or other criminal offense then it would be in your best interest to get a hold of an experienced motorcycle DUI/DWI attorney in NH.

By Shepherd and Osborne

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Safety Tips For Travelers in New Hampshire


With the decreasing gas prices and the economy improving, many people in New Hampshire and Massachusetts are expected to hit the roadways this Memorial Day weekend.

Traveling motorist should beware as state police will be adding extra patrols this weekend, including on Interstate 93. State police from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine will be working together to patrol and crackdown on potential DWI offenses.


Let’s not forget what this Holiday is really about. Memorial Day is remembering the men and women who died while serving our great country. For this we remember and are forever grateful.

Traveling Tips

According to Pat Moody spokesman for AAA Northern New England, he is projecting the number of travelers this Memorial Weekend will reach a post-recession high not only in the region, but across the country. Moody said an estimated 36.1 million people will be traveling 50 miles or more from home, including more than 1.6 million from New England.

It’s expected to be the second-highest number of Memorial Day weekend travelers in 14 years, he said. That means approximately 31.8 million people will hopping into their cars to get away — an increase of about 400,000 over last year, Moody said.

The Most Dangerous Weekend For Accidents

According to study recently released by the National Safety Council Memorial Day weekend is the most dangerous holiday for road and highway accidents.

Driving Safety Tips:

•    Hang up and drive – avoid cell use
•    Never text and drive
•    Wear your seat belts
•    Have your vehicle safety inspected before heading out
•    Do not drink and drive
•    Drive defensively
•    Plan ahead – know your route

Resource: National Highway Traffic Administration

Safety State tourism officials are optimistic as well, forecasting a 2 percent increase over a year ago. The estimated 560,000 out-of-state visitors expected this weekend are expected to spend about $89 million, said Tai Freligh, spokesman for the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism.

Weekend Forecast

For those heading north, the warm weather should make it pleasant for hiking, camping and other outdoor excursions most of the weekend, despite some rain today, according to National Weather Service meteorologist James Brown in Gray, Maine.

There’s a 50 percent chance of showers today, but that drops to about 30 percent on Saturday. Temperatures should rise from the 60s to the 70s during that time, but it could be cloudy at times, he said.

The forecast is revealing that Monday should be the best day, with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s.

Source: Eagle Tribune - http://bit.ly/1kavIpt

By Shepherd and Osborne


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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What Is My Blood Alcohol Level For NH? BAC Test Tool

NH - BAC Calculator

Blood alcohol content (BAC) or blood alcohol concentration is the concentration of alcohol in blood. It is usually measured as mass per volume. For example, a BAC of 0.02% means 0.2% (permille) or 0.02 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of individual's blood, or 0.2 grams of alcohol per 1000 grams of blood. Use the BAC Calculator, (Blood Alcohol Calculator below to calculate your BAC levels.


For an ESTIMATE ONLY - Try this BAC Calculator to see if you may be impaired.


  • FLUID OUNCES CONSUMED
  • (Beer ~ 12 oz. Wine Glass ~ 4 oz. 1 Shot ~ 1.5 oz)
  • YOUR WEIGHT (Lbs)
  • ALCOHOL PERCENTAGE IN BEVERAGE
    (Beer ~ 4-4.5% Wine ~ 15-20% 1 Shot ~ 30-50%)
  • HOURS CONSUMING DRINK


Fluid Ounces Consumed
Percent Alcohol
Your Weight (Lbs) Hours Consuming Drink
BAC Percentage
BAC Analysis


Disclaimer: This is in no way purported to be a guideline for how much you can drink and still drive or avoid being arrested! The best policy is don't drink and drive. Period.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Do Red and Glassy Eyes Mean You're Drunk in New Hampshire?


Red and Glassy Eyes Means You're Drunk Right? WRONG! 

Just like the phrase “odor of alcoholic beverage” is parroted in every DWI case, so is the officer’s observation of “red and glassy eyes”.   We challenge this observation by pointing out the obvious – a whole host of environmental factors play a role in causing “red and glassy” eyes. 

Those “red and glassy” eyes are a sign of impairment was even debunked in a 1997 U.S. Department of Transportation report:

“…Bloodshot eyes, while associated with alcohol consumption, also are a trait of many shift workers and people who must work more than one job, as well as those afflicted by allergies.” Jack Stuster, U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA Final Report, The Detection of DWI at BAC’s below .10 (1997)

Take the following cross-examination snippet into consideration:

Attorney: Isn’t it true officer that being tired can cause red eyes?
 
Officer: Yes
 
Attorney: You don’t know how long my client was awake prior to the stop, correct?
 
Officer: Yes, that’s correct.
 
Attorney: You would agree that allergies can cause the eyes to become red, correct?
 
Officer: Yes
 
Attorney: You have no idea if my client has any allergies, correct?
 
Officer: I do not.
 
Attorney: You certainly didn’t call my client’s doctor to follow up on this issue, did you?
 
Officer: I did not.
 
Attorney:  Cigarette smoke can cause eyes to become red, correct?
 
Officer: Yes
 
Attorney: Did you ask my client how many cigarettes he had during the course of the night?
 
Officer: No, I did not.


Alcohol is not the only cause for red bloodshot and watery eyes.  Here is a more comprehensive list:

o    Cigarette smoke
o    Eye strain
o    Contact lenses
o    Fatigue
o    Conjunctivitis
o    Diabetes-
o    Prescription medication
o    Cold and Flu
o    Dry air
o    Mumps
o    Infection
o    Emotion state

The cross-examination on the issue of “red and glassy” eyes could go on forever.  The observation of “red and glassy eyes” is hardly compelling evidence when considering the many alternative reasons for this condition. 

If you’re facing a DWI allegation in NH, Contact a qualified DWI attorney in your area.

Shepherd and Osborne - Criminal Lawyers For NH

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Defending Your DWI Charge - Odor Of Alcohol Laws in NH


Defending Your DWI Charge Odor Of Alcohol

Police Report: “I approached the vehicle and immediately detected a strong odor of alcohol emanating from the operator.”

Some things in life are guaranteed: the sun will rise, taxes are due and nearly every DWI police report in NH will contain a damning claim by the arresting officer that he/she “smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage” either coming from the interior of a person’s vehicle or directly from the person herself.   Yes indeed, death, taxes and your DWI police report repeatedly echoing the phrase “odor of alcohol” are a virtual certainty. 

At first blush this “odor of alcohol” claim seems like powerful evidence of intoxication and guilt.  One may conclude (erroneously) that “hey, if he smells like a brewery then he is probably intoxicated.”  The reality, however, is that the phrase “odor of alcohol” is junk – the phrase tells us nothing about a person’s sobriety and fitness to operate a motor vehicle.

Ethyl Alcohol has no smell.  What the officer smells is the aroma - the flavoring that gives the beverage its taste.  The strongest smelling beverages usually contain the least amount of alcohol, such as beer and wine.  Some very strong beverages, such as Scotch and Vodka, produce a light, faint smell.
 
 What if I Drink Non - Alcoholic Beer?

Consider “Near Beer” – after guzzling a “Near Beer” you will likely smell like a brewery.  However, despite the strong odor wafting from your gullet, you have absolutely zero alcohol in your system. 

An odor of alcohol, standing alone, does not provide probable cause to make a DWI arrest. Remember, the law prohibits impaired driving, not driving after having consumed a drink. 

“The mere odor of alcohol about a driver’s person….maybe indicia of alcohol ingestion, but it is no more a probable indication of intoxication than eating a meal is of gluttony.”  Saucier v. State, 869 P. 2d 483 (1994)

We make sure the jury or judge understands that there is no correlation between an odor of an alcoholic beverage and the amount of alcohol you have consumed.   An odor of an alcoholic beverage does not tell us what type of alcohol you consumed (beer, wine, mixed drink), how much alcohol was consumed, the time the alcohol was consumed, over what duration the alcohol was consumed and in what quantity it was consumed.


WHAT DO I SAY IF THE POLICE ASK ME WHAT I HAVE HAD TO DRINK? OR IF I HAVE BEEN DRINKING?

You are NOT required to answer this question.  Politely tell the officer that you are declining his invitation to answer this potentially incriminating question and you wish to have an attorney with you before answering any further questions. 

By Law Office of Shepherd and Osborne


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Thursday, February 13, 2014

When Do The Police Need To Read Miranda Warnings?

They Never Read Me My Rights!

…And the police didn’t even bother to read me my Miranda rights!!!  This statement is echoed numerous times thought our office when meeting with clients.  The following is a brief Miranda outline:
 
When does Miranda apply?

Miranda rights apply when a person is in custody and subjected to interrogation. 


 What do you mean “in custody?”

A person is considered to be in custody when, in view of all the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave.   If you are placed under arrest you are “in custody” for Miranda purposes.

However, if there is no formal arrest, the issue becomes a little murky.  When formal arrest is lacking “the court must determine whether [your] freedom of movement was sufficiently curtailed by considering how a reasonable person in [your] position would have understood the situation.”  The court will consider whether the suspect was familiar with his surroundings, the number of police officers present, if the suspect was physically restrained and, importantly, the interview’s duration and character.  Routine traffic stops typically do not invoke Miranda safeguards.

What do you mean by “interrogation?”

Interrogation is asking point-blank questions.  However, interrogation also includes “words or actions on the part of the police that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect.”  

For example, you’re stopped for speeding and the police notice a severed head rolling around the inside of your car.  Predictably, you are arrested and hauled down to the police station.   The police read you Miranda rights.  Smartly, you reply that you wish to remain silent and speak to my attorney.  The police officer says “fine,  but if you want to be a man and tell us where the rest of the body parts are so the victim’s family can rest… let us know”   This statement “would be reasonably likely to elicit a response” and is considered improper. Exercising your Fifth Amendment Rights and understanding the Miranda Waning Laws can protect you and allow you time to have your attorney present at time of questioning.

What warnings must be given? 
  • You have the right to remain silent; 
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in court;
  • You have a right to consult with a lawyer and have that lawyer present during interrogation; 
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer one will be appointed.
What now?
 
If you are facing a situation wherein the police are looking to speak with you, politely decline.  Tell the officer that you are exercising your right to remain silent and you wish to have a lawyer present before proceeding any further.



By Law Office of Shepherd and Osborne





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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Can I Refuse a Police Search on Me or My Car? NH Search and Seizure Laws

Should I consent to a search when the police ask?

One of the most frustrating issues criminal defense attorneys face is when a client consents to an otherwise unwarranted search of her vehicle, apartment, house or any area where the client has an expectation of privacy.  Often times the law enforcement officer is simply on a “fishing expedition” - you look young, nervous, timid, and guilty, therefore, the police officer, playing his hunch, asks for your “consent” to rummage about your vehicle, house or jacket pockets.  Your slight hesitation will be met with the following, “We can do this the easy way or hard way, and we can sit here all night while I call in a K-9 to search your vehicle or you can simply consent.”    Or, “if you have nothing to hide why don’t you just consent to a search?’  You have just fallen prey to manipulative police tactics.

<img title='Being Frisked' alt='Searched By Police' src='http://shepherdandosborne.blogspot.com/2014/02/can-i-refuse-police-search-on-me-or-my.html' >

What’s the law on consent searches?

Both the Federal and New Hampshire Constitutions protect you from unreasonable searches and seizures from the State and its agents.  Evidence obtained in violation of your 4th Amendment rights may be excluded from trial depending upon the facts and circumstances surrounding your purported consent.  A consent search is an exception to the requirement that the police obtain a warrant.  The State bears the burden of proving that your consent was given “freely, voluntarily and knowingly.” 

What if I didn’t really “consent” to the search?

Sometimes consent is subject to a legal challenge when the police expand the scope of a stop.  For example, the police pull you over for speeding and issue a ticket.  However, prior to letting you drive off, the officer asks for consent to search your car, usually looking for a chance to nab you on a drug transportation charge.  You consent and, eventually, the officer pulls a baggie of marijuana from under the passenger seat.  A good argument can be made that the police impermissibly expanded the scope of the traffic stop by asking for consent to search when you should have been on your way home.

As addressed above, sometimes the purported consent is not “freely” and “voluntarily” given as when there are threats of obtaining warrants at mid-night, bringing in a pack of angry K-9 dogs or towing your car back to the station. 

What to know

You do not need to consent to an officer’s request to search you, your automobile or your home.  You may politely refuse until presented with a search warrant.  If you are in your car, politely refuse the request and ask if you may simply be on your way.   If the officer insists that he is going to search a particular area, do not resist and/or act belligerent.  Rather, stand aside as this is a battle that will be fought in court. If arrested and contact a good New Hampshire criminal lawyer.


By Justin Shepherd


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Saturday, February 1, 2014

N.H. House Passes 1st-Offense DWI Bill – Temporary License To Drive After a DUI




CONCORD — On a voice vote Bill HB 496 was passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday 1/29/14 that will authorize first-time DWI offenders in NH to obtain a limited license (if approved) so they are able drive to work, to rehabilitation or to receive medical treatment.

Under the new law (HB 496), in order to obtain a temporary license, offenders will be required to pay $50.00 for an application fee and also to petition a judge. If approved, they will be required have to (at their own expense) have an enhanced technology ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.



This temporary driving privilege will allow offenders to avoid any loss of work due to lack of transportation. This privilege will require following a strict guidelines of the new law. The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee is recommended the bill should be passed with amendment, 16-1.
Offenders who are found guilty of violating this privilege will be treated as if they were driving with a revoked license and charged accordingly.

Last week, Pat Sullivan, executive director of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, said his organization is against the bill because it would be cumbersome for police to enforce a law that would allow some people to drive some of the time. Sullivan said the state needs tougher DWI laws in NH, not weaker ones, especially considering the number of fatalities New Hampshire had on our roadways last year.
Fatal crashes in New Hampshire reached 133 in 2013. This was the highest reported in five years. According to the New Hampshire Driving Toward Zero coalition, approximately 37 percent of all fatal crashes in NH are alcohol related.

Former police Chief John Tholl in Dalton had plans to propose the bill before he lost his re-election bid in 2012. Tholl says he has seen a dramatic increase in the interlock devices technology and if used correctly can significantly reduce DWI’s in the state.

The bill was proposed by Rep. Steve Shurtleff, D-Penacook, who was named the 2013 legislative champion by Mothers Against Drunk Driving of New Hampshire. MADD is for HB 496 because it would expand the use of ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), these ignition interlock devices help DWI offenders from becoming repeat offenders by 67 percent in relation to drivers with suspended licenses. Interlock devices are able to use real time to email a picture of the person blowing into it, their location and the results of the test to a server which notifies state police instantly if anything is out of parameter.
Source: Fosters.com

By Justin Shepherd


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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Texting and Driving Laws in New Hampshire - RSA 265:105-a



Facing Charges for Texting and Driving In NH?

You are texting and driving.  You know you shouldn’t be doing it but the messages are important - Your girlfriend is irate, the vet found a tick stuck to your dog, your grandmother is cooking meatballs for dinner.  Whatever the reason –that text message you just received is of the utmost importance and you’re determined to text that person back. However, unbeknownst to you while your frantically typing away; your car is swerving over the double yellow line one second and scraping off the guardrail the next.  Pedestrians and small animals bound for the side of the road to avoid your careening vehicle.  Unfortunately for you (and your wallet), the kind police officer pulls up and sees you frantically typing on your phone oblivious to your surroundings.  Or, much worse yet, you smash into someone killing them or maiming them for life.  Now what?

<img title='' alt='Texting and Driving Laws in New Hampshire' src='http://shepherdandosborne.blogspot.com/2014/01/texting-and-driving-laws-in-new.html' >

Sobering facts:
  • 9 people are killed every day from crashes involving a distracted driver.  Another 1,060 are injured.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 3, 328 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2012;
  • 18% of all automobile accident injuries in 2010 were due to distracted driving and 16% of all distracted driving crashes involved drivers under 20.
  • According to research conducted by Distraction.gov you are 23 times more likely to get into an accident while texting and driving, as opposed to non-distracted driving;
  • The National HWY Transportation Safety Administration reports that texting and driving is identical to drinking 4 beers and driving;
  • Texting and driving results in 11 teen driver deaths every day and contributes to may crashes;
  • Teens who text will spend 10% of their driving outside of their lane of travel.

The Problem:

Texting while driving kills. Texting while driving involves manual, visual and a thinking distraction all at the same time.  You can’t text and simultaneously pay attention to the road.  Sending or receiving a text takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.  So, if you are driving 50 MPH and your vehicle covering 73 feet per second while sending and receiving a text messages, it’s akin to traveling the distance of a football field while blindfolded. 
Penalty and Punishment in New Hampshire

New Hampshire RSA 265:105-a prohibits text messaging while operating a vehicle.  A conviction is a violation level offense resulting in a mandatory $100 fine. 

Civil Liability

If you cause an accident as a result of your distracted driving you may very likely be sued for negligence.  If you cause an accident while texting and driving you may be found to be “negligent per se.”   Specifically, because you violated the texting statute, a jury may “presume” that you engaged in negligent conduct.  Hence,  if your found liable for the damage you caused, get prepared to say goodbye to your fortunes,  goodbye to your life savings, goodbye to your paycheck, the money stashed in your safe and coins hidden under your couch cushions.  You’re going to pay for the damage you caused. 

If you or a loved one have been injured due to a distracted driver, Attorneys Justin Shepherd and Mark Osborne are here to help.  We can be reached at 603/595-5525.  We are always happy to discuss your case and all consultations are confidential and free of charge.

By Attorney Justin Shepherd


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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When Will Marijuana Become Legal in New Hampshire?


This week the New Hampshire House will consider the bill on whether to legalize up to 1 ounce of marijuana for ages 21 and older for recreational use.

Supporters are proposing to tax the drug when sold at a retail rate of $30 per ounce. In addition, allowing people grow up to 6 marijuana plants in a controlled environment. A poll released October 25 2013 by (WMUR Granite State Poll pdf.), showed 60% of New Hampshire adults support HB 492, a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.
Marijuana
Manchester Republican and State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt supported the bill and said the legislation is modeled after one that was approved by voters in Colorado last year and is similar to one Washington voters passed. Vaillancourt said that the bill would not be effective until July 1 to provide time to implement it properly. He also stated that taxing the drug would bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue.

New Hampshire criminal lawyer Justin Shepherd stated that allowing this bill to pass would significantly reduce the number of criminal drug possession cases and arrests in New Hampshire.
Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R-Manchester) has vowed to continue pushing the legislation by fighting the committee recommendation on the House floor. The House is expected to vote on the bill sometime during the first three days of the 2014 legislative session.

On July 23, 2013, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill allowing seriously ill New Hampshire residents to use marijuana for medical purposes.  With the signing N.H. becomes 19th state to pass medical marijuana law. A summary of the bill is available, click here.

Penalties

This bill does not allow anyone to drive while under the influence of marijuana or any other substance. The idea is by legalizing, taxing and regulating the drug; it would effectively take the profit away from illegal operations which is bad for society.
Opponents did argue that marijuana is bad for people's health and would be difficult to regulate.
Criminal Justice and Public Safety Chairwoman Laura Pantelakos noted that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
"If New Hampshire were to legalize and regulate marijuana, it would create an unclear picture of the state versus federal law enforcement, particularly since the (Department of Justice) has stated it will rely on states that legalize to strictly enforce and regulate marijuana," Pantelakos said in a report to the House. She said that could shift regulatory costs onto the state.

Resource: Current Marijuana Laws in New Hampshire

Lawmakers

Lawmakers have considered but rejected decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana for recreational use in the past, most recently last session. But decriminalization supporters were encouraged when the state — with Gov. Maggie Hassan's backing — made it legal for the seriously ill to possess and use the drug earlier this year. Implementing the state's medical marijuana law is expected to take a year.
If the bill does pass the House, it still faces a doubtful future. The Senate rejected a bill to decriminalize possession of up to one-quarter ounce of the drug last year and Hassan still opposes decriminalization.

FOR SUPPORTERS: If you want to ask your legislators to support HB 492 when the legislature reconvenes in January go to: The Marijuana Policy Project  to sign up!

Source: CONCORD, N.H. (AP), Marijuana Policy Project