Per Se DWI Laws in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, you can be charged with DWI for being under the influence of alcohol or some other controlled drug. Being under the influence can be demonstrated by your performance on field sobriety tests, by your operation of a motor vehicle in an erratic fashion and by other observations reported by a law enforcement officer.
When considering all of this evidence in its totality, a judge or jury will make a determination whether the State has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Importantly, if you submit to a chemical test which reveals a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over a .08 the law establishes a presumption that you are impaired. This means that you may feel fine, and that you could theoretically pass all of the field sobriety tests and still be convicted of a DWI.
When you are charged with a BAC of over a .08, this is type of offense is classified as a "per se" offense. Per se means by or in itself. If you are charged with a per se offense, the State has to demonstrate lawful grounds for the stop, and probable cause for the arrest. The field sobriety tests are not important because the State is relying upon the BAC from the chemical test.
Quite often, if you submit to a chemical test, the State will charge you with alternative theories. This means that the State will lodge a per se offense and an under the influence offense. The reason behind this tactic is that if the prosecutor has trouble with the admissibility of the field sobriety tests, she can still rely upon the validity of the chemical test to obtain a conviction. Of course, the reverse is also true.
As you can see, DWI cases are very complex, and you will need an aggressive DWI lawyer to defend you. If you have been charged with DWI, please contact the Law Office of Chadwick-Fricano-Weber for a free consultation at 603-880-6100.