Getting a New Hampshire DUI: The First 30 Days
If you are wondering what to expect and what you can do to protect your rights after an arrest for driving while intoxicated in New Hampshire, then your best resource is a skilled DUI attorney who can look at the specifics of your case. However, there are certain steps that most cases go through, and it can be beneficial to understand them.
New Hampshire DUI Arrest: The First Night
The first thing you can expect after your DUI arrest is to be read your Miranda rights. You likely know that you have the right to remain silent, but many people forget to use it when facing this situation. You can still be polite to the officers, you simply want to state that you are exercising your right to remain silent and wish to see a lawyer.
When you are brought to the police station, you will go through the booking process. During booking, you will be asked certain basic questions, such as your name, address, and date of birth, and you are required to answer these questions because they do not violate your Miranda rights. They may also record identifying information about you, such as your height, weight, hair color, and eye color. You will also likely be fingerprinted and have your mug shot taken.
Be aware that unless you waived your Miranda rights the police cannot ask you questions about how much alcohol you had to drink – or even leading questions to determine if you are intoxicated, such as requesting that you say the alphabet backwards. If they do so, that evidence can be suppressed.
You may also be asked to take another breath test – or a blood or urine test – to verify your blood alcohol level. Just like at the scene of your arrest, this is covered under the implied consent law, which means that if you refuse you face an automatic driver’s license suspension known as Administrative License Suspension.
Once this process is done, you will be checked for weapons and then moved to a holding cell or local jail.
New Hampshire DUI: The First Week
In most DUI cases, particularly misdemeanor charges, you will be given the opportunity to pay bail or be released on your own recognizance, which just means that you don’t have to pay anything to get out of jail. In either case, you are making a commitment to appear for future court dates, or your bail money (if you paid any) will be forfeited and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
New Hampshire DUI: The First Month
You only have 30 days after your DUI arrest to contest your driver’s license suspension. You are required to file a written request for an administrative hearing, otherwise the suspension will stand. The administrative process can be just as complicated, if not more so, than the criminal proceedings, so you also want to get a lawyer involved in these aspects of your case.
During the 30 days following your DUI arrest, you may have your arraignment, which is where the charges will be read against you formally. Also, you will have to make a plea – guilty or not guilty. By pleading guilty, you simply accept whatever punishment that the judge decides to hand down, with no room for negotiation or argument. This is why it is a good idea to plead not guilty. You have time to look over the facts of the case to ensure that everything was done properly. If not, you may find that you can get charges reduced or even dismissed.
What follows is a series of pretrial hearings. Your lawyer will spend much of this first month gathering evidence for you during what is called the discovery period. This can mean watching videos of your arrest, assessing the test results determining your blood alcohol content, and interviewing potential witnesses. A good DUI attorney may try to get certain pieces of evidence thrown out of court, so they cannot be used against you. He or she will also try to work out a plea bargain with the prosecutor.
If you are unable to reach a plea bargain that you are satisfied with, then your case will ultimately proceed to trial.