Did You Know That the New Hampshire State Legislature is in the Process of Taking a Right Away from You? By Mark Stevens 603-893-0074

Our state legislature has been in the limelight in recent months due to a series of bills addressing such burning questions as whether men can use the ladies' room in public restrooms and whether to legalize pot for people who can get a doctor to prescribe it. But did you know that the house of representatives quietly voted to pass a bill to eliminate the right to an independent breath test for blood alcohol content for people who have been accused of DWI? House Bill 363, requested by the New Hampshire department of safety, would eliminate the right of drivers accused of DWI in New Hampshire to have their breath independently analyzed as they do now.

It is important to note that the cost of obtaining the independent analysis is borne ENTIRELY BY THE DRIVER! Yes, that's right, these independent tests don't cost the state one red cent. So why would the state want to strip the accused of the best chance to challenge the state's evidence? There may be some reasons for it, but none of them are good ones.

You may think, "... well that doesn't affect me, I don't drive drunk". Do you know that it is more likely than ever that you will stopped for no reason at all in a DWI roadblock? Do you know that these roadblocks are numbers-driven events and that very marginal cases result in arrests to justify the grant money needed to run the roadblocks?

If you are arrested for DWI, whether you are drunk or not, you will be faced with a Hobson's choice: either refuse to blow into the old breath gadget because you don't trust it, which will cause you to suffer an administrative license suspension, or spin the wheel and blow into the gadget and see what number comes up. If you blow high enough you get charged with aggravated DWI and face mandatory jail time for your cooperation. One protection you have under the current law is to have the breath test independently analyzed by some one who does not work for the prosecution team. The state has convinced the house of representatives to pass HB 363 in order to annihilate this important right.

There's little doubt why the state wants this, as it would make it easier to convict people, like slam dunking a basketball into a 6 foot high basket. What does the state have to fear with the current system under which its evidence can be challenged by the accused? The current law is a procedural safeguard that helps avoid wrongful convictions, which we should all share an interest in.

This bill is in committee in the senate, where a hearing will be held on it tomorrow. Please let your state senator know what you think about this effort to stamp out a right that costs the state nothing and can only help prevent the wrongful conviction of the innocent.

Mark Stevens

Have a safe night,

Mark Stevens
New Hampshire Lawyer Mark Stevens
5 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079
Tel 603-893-0074






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