Monday, October 27, 2014
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.
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 However, if your taillight is out or your registration is outdated, they can and will pull you over regardless of how cautious you may be driving.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.
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.
Shepherd & Osborne
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
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