New Hampshire DWI Sobriety Tests
When a New Hampshire police make a traffic stop, they are trained to look for signs of possible intoxication. Common signs that a driver may be under the influence include: Slurred speech Red blood shot eyes The odor or drugs or alcohol Open containers or drug paraphernalia visible in the vehicle Erratic behavior Confusion If they observe any of these signs or are given any other reason to believe that the driver may be under the influence of alcohol and drugs, an officer will ask the driver to submit to several sobriety tests. There are two main types of sobriety tests - field sobriety tests and chemical sobriety tests. The results of both will be used against a DUI suspect in court as proof of their impairment.
Sobriety tests in New Hampshire are covered under implied consent. If a driver refuses to take a sobriety test when police have good reason to believe to suspect that they are under the influence, they are in violation of the New Hampshire implied consent law. Penalties for violating implied consent are as follows:
- First sobriety test refusal and zero prior DWI convictions: 180 days of license suspension
- First sobriety test refusal and one or more prior DWI convictions: 2 years of license suspension
Field Sobriety Tests in New Hampshire
The first type of test that law enforcement will ask a DWI suspect to take is a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are physical tasks that a police officer will ask a driver to perform in order to evaluate whether or not they are impaired. There are many tests that an officer can ask a suspect to perform but the most common test are the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). These are three tests that are standardized by the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA). They are as follows:
- Walk and Turn: The suspect must walk a straight line and then turn and walk back touching heel to toe and not using their arms to steady themselves.
- One Leg Stand: The suspect must stand on one leg without balancing themselves with their arms.The
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: The suspect must follow an object with their eyes while the officer looks for an involuntary twitching of their eyes. This test is only good at evaluating for alcohol intoxication.
Field sobriety tests are designed to be easy to fail. For example, both the walk and turn and one leg stand tests can be ruled as failures if the suspect uses their arms to balance themselves or rocks back and forth in an attempt to get their balance. In addition, most police vehicles are equipped with cameras in the dashboards that record the performance of these tests so that it can be used in court.
New Hampshire Chemical Sobriety Tests
The other type of sobriety test that a DWI suspect will be asked to take is a chemical test. There are three types of chemical sobriety tests including:
Breath Test: Breath test are common because many police officers carry with them handheld Breathalyzer devices that can measure the amount of alcohol in a person's lungs. As a person metabolizes alcohol, it is converted into vapor that travels out of the lungs, breath tests measure the amount of vapor in order to determine how much alcohol the person has consumed. Breath test results are available right away though they do not measure drug levels. In New Hampshire a driver who has an alcohol level of 0.08 or over is guilty of DWI.
Blood Test: Blood tests evaluate for alcohol and drug levels. The results can take up to several weeks. A blood sample is drawn by a professional and analyzed by a lab for the presence of drugs and/or alcohol. A blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more or the presence of any amount of intoxicating drugs will lead to DWI charges in New Hampshire.
Urine Test: Urine tests are not commonly used and only evaluate for drug levels. Test results are usually available immediately.
New Hampshire DWI Test Defense Lawyer
One of the best DWI defense options is to challenge the results of the sobriety tests. In many cases, the number one evidence against the suspect is the results of the sobriety tests. Getting a jury to seriously question these tests' accuracy will significantly weaken the prosecution's case.
If you or a family member have been arrested for suspicion of DWI in New Hampshire, call us now. Attorney Ryan Russman is one of the most trusted DWI authorities in the state. He will go over your case with you and help you build a strong defense. Call now to get started.