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