Pulled over for a DWI in New Hampshire (part one)

Posted by Ryan Russman | Oct 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

One question I am often asked is whether to submit to Field Sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests. My answer depends on the situation.

Once you have been pulled over by the police, you should stay in the car, speak as little as possible, and give the officer your driver”s license and registration when asked. Be courteous. Do not question or argue with the officer, but understand that you do not have to answer questions about where you have been, how many drinks you may or may not have had, or where you are going.

The officer begins assessing your physical appearance, listening for slurred speech, and searching for the odor or physical evidence of alcohol, immediately after pulling you over. Keep that in mind when you do speak and  speak clearly, in a calm manner and do not say more than you must.

If the officer suspects that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he will request that you step out of the car and perform a series of Field Sobriety Tests.  These tests will allow him to judge your coordination. You are not required by law to participate in Field Sobriety Tests. You can politely refuse these tests without “getting into trouble.”

Breathalyzer and alcohol concentration tests are another matter totally. According to the law of Implied Consent, when you drive on any New Hampshire road, you forfeit your right to refuse an alcohol concentration test. If you refuse to take an alcohol concentration test, you will automatically lose your license for 180 days for your first refusal or DWI conviction, or for two years if you have a prior conviction.  This license suspension is in addition to any punishment incurred if convicted.

Before making you take the breathalyzer test, the officer must read the Implied Consent/ Admin  per se admonitions to you. These admonitions state that you have the right to choose who is to administer physical tests, and that when you inform the officer of that right he must give you the opportunity to request those tests.  Keep in mind that the tests must be administered by properly license and trained persons.

If the officer fails to inform you of the Implied Consent admonitions, then any evidence collected can not be used in court.

If you are injured or incapacitated, that is unable to refuse testing; the officer has the right to assume that you give consent for testing under the law of Implied Consent, and administer the tests. The results can and will be used in court.

About the Author

Ryan Russman

Attorney Ryan Russman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of New Hampshire citizens. His practice, based in Exeter (Rockingham County) New Hampshire, is limited to cases involving DWI and DUI, other motor vehicle and criminal cases, and many cases involving personal injury. He is, however, best known as one of New Hampshire's leading legal authorities on DWI.


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