Process of a New Hampshire DWI Stop

The process of a New Hampshire DWI stop can often be both complex and stressful. It is important that an individual understands the circumstances that surround the arrest process, and how to act in these situations.

To learn more about New Hampshire DWI stops, an individual should not hesitate before contacting an experienced lawyer. If necessary, a knowledgeable attorney can best advise an individual on how to proceed with their DWI case.

Vehicle Search

It is legal for law enforcement to search the vehicle when they make an arrest due to the inventory search exception to the warrant requirement.

If there has not yet been an arrest, but the police want to search the individual’s vehicle, they will often ask the driver to consent to a search. If they refuse, law enforcement may threaten them with the use of a drug dog, which may scare some individuals. Because of this, some people consent to the vehicle search.

However, some people still do not consent to a search. A United States Supreme Court recently stated that law enforcement cannot hold an individual indefinitely to wait for a drug dog, assuming that they are willing to follow through on their threat. Police cannot hold an individual without any sort of justification.

Just because they may not be legally allowed, does not mean that police sometimes do not hold individuals for that period of time. It is important to note that even with this threat, an individual should not consent to a search. Saying yes to a vehicle search will not help an individual’s case during a New Hampshire DWI stop.

Field Sobriety Tests

When looking to administer field sobriety tests during a New Hampshire DUI stop, an officer will come to the driver’s window and will ask the individual a few questions, most often:

  • Where are you coming from?
  • Where are you going?
  • Any reason you crossed the line?
  • Have you had anything to drink tonight?

If the driver says no, the officer may often ask why they smell alcohol. This is used as a question to trick the driver. An officer may also ask the individual if they have taken any sort of prescription drug as well. They are trying to get any sort of information out of the individual during this part of a New Hampshire DUI stop.

An individual does not have to be drunk to receive a DWI. The police can go forward on the claim that the individual was under the influence of some sort of prescription or non-prescription medication, even if they were taking it exactly the way that it was prescribed.  In New Hampshire, an individual can be convicted of driving under the influence of whatever they admit to consuming.

During a New Hampshire DWI arrest stop, the police will ask the driver to step out of the car. They will usually walk to the rear of their car to begin doing the field sobriety tests. They will start with the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This can determine if the individual is on any sort of substances.

From there, the police will employ the walk and turn test, where the individual must walk on an imaginary line, refrain from raising their arms for balance, and counting out loud. These elements can sometimes trip up an individual. After that, the police will have the driver stand on one leg for 30 seconds while counting. It is sometimes hard for individuals to do this without being in a stressful environment.

After an officer administers the field sobriety tests during a New Hampshire DWI stop, more often than not, it will result in an arrest. If a person has been arrested, their vehicle would be towed, and under the inventory search exceptions, law enforcement would be able to search the car. These searches are used primarily to obtain evidence against the individual.

Arrest Process

If a person admits to having taken anything at all, then the officers will ask them when they consumed the substance. Law enforcement may seem conversational and friendly, but it is important to know that anything an individual says can be used against them during the process of a New Hampshire DWI stop.

If an individual says that they were consuming any alcohol at all, even if it was just one beer, the officer may use that admission against them. This will influence the officer’s arrest decision, even before the field sobriety tests are administered.

Trial Proceedings

During the trial proceedings, the prosecutor will subpoena the officer, talk to law enforcement beforehand, and make sure that the officer knows when the court date is. It is rare for an officer to fail to show up in a New Hampshire DWI case.