New Hampshire DWI Evidence
When a person is arrested for DWI in New Hampshire, the severity of their case depends on what evidence the prosecution has against them. This is not something that many DWI offenders think about right away but it is one of the first things that lawyers evaluate when taking on a new case. The truth is, anything that happens during a police stop or arrest can be used against the suspect as proof of their intoxication. This includes the way that they acted or any items that they had in their vehicle or on their person at the time of arrest. Most commonly, however, the strongest evidence against a DWI suspect is the result of their sobriety tests.
Common DWI evidence include the following:
The results of a blood, breath or urine sobriety test stating the level of alcohol concentration in the suspect's system or whether or not drugs were present in the suspect's body within two hours after arrest. Under RSA 265-A:11.I, any test results that show the presence of alcohol or a drug that impairs one's ability to drive can be admitted.
The video of the suspect being evaluated for DWI and performing field sobriety tests, if any. Many police law-enforcement vehicles are equipped with video cameras on the dashboards. These dashboard cameras are used to record interactions including traffic stops and arrests. If the suspect appeared to be intoxicated in the video, it will be shown to the jury as evidence of their DWI. Police often use the video to demonstrate any other items found in the vehicle to the jury. For example, if an officer finds an open container in the car, they will often dump the contents out on the ground in front of the camera.
Testimony from the arresting officer. If the police officer observed any signs of impairment such as red eyes, slurred speech, etc. they may be asked to testify in court to explain to the jury exactly what they saw and why they believed the suspect was impaired.
Knowing What Evidence the Prosecution Has
When a person is initially charged with DWI, they will not know exactly what evidence the prosecution has against them. Under New Hampshire law, the prosecutor does not have to share their evidence list with the defendant until the case moves to trial. This means that the defendant should plead ‘not guilty' at their arrangement if they want to gain access to what evidence exists against them. This process is called discovery and a DWI attorney will handle it for the client.
During the discovery phase, a DWI attorney can gain access to all the information that the prosecution will use against the defendant in court. They will also gain access to the police vehicle video and will be able to watch it for themselves. This process is important because the defendant and their attorney will be able to get a better estimate of their ability to win the trial. For example, if the evidence is weak the attorney will likely work to get a plea bargain or take the case to trial because there is a good likelihood the prosecution will fail to prove the charges. If the evidence is overwhelming, the attorney may consider advising their client to plead guilty.
Fighting the Evidence
The good news about DWI evidence is that there are ways to fight it no matter what it involves, especially with the aid of an experienced DWI attorney. Physical evidence such as the presence of drug paraphernalia or an open container can be blocked if the attorney can argue that they were obtained from the defendant unlawfully. If police perform an unwarranted search and seizure, they violate a person's rights. This type of evidence cannot be used in court. An attorney can file a motion to suppress if they believe that the evidence was taken illegally.
An attorney can also question the validity of blood, breath or urine test results. There are several factors that can cause a test to provide inaccurate results such as if a breath a testing device is not calibrated correctly it could skew the results. DWI lawyers understand how sobriety tests can fail and will work hard to prove to the jury that the results may not be accurate.
DWI evidence is not all bad; sometimes it can even be used as a defense. For example, a dashboard camera video that shows the defendant as they act normal and successfully perform a field sobriety test may prove to the jury that, though their test results came back positive, the defendant was not impaired. Chemical test results that show a blood alcohol concentration under .08 can also prove that a suspect was not actually intoxicated. Under New Hampshire DWI law, a person can be charged with driving while intoxicated if they have a BAC over of .08 or if they are accused of driving while impaired. This means that they can have a blood alcohol concentration under the legal limit and still be arrested if police believe that the intoxicant was affecting their ability to drive. However, it is up to a jury to decide whether they were actually impaired. This is when a low or negative drug or alcohol test can come in handy.
New Hampshire DWI Defense Attorney
DWI evidence law can be very confusing. If you have been arrested for suspicion of DWI and would like to know more about your rights and what evidence can be used against you, contact our office right now. You will speak with an experienced attorney who will answer all of your questions and explain more about DWI.
When you hire attorney Ryan Russman, you can rest assured knowing that your case is in good hands. He will take care of the discovery process and evaluate what kind of evidence the prosecution has against you. He can go over, in detail, every aspect of your case so that you understand what's happening at every step and can make informed decisions. Call us now for free consultation.