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Compendium
Superior Court Cases

Issues Regarding ALS/Accident Cases
 
Referenced By Hearing Date: 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993
 
Perrault v. Beecher, 05-E-0026, (Coos, Vaughan, 06/21/05) AFFIRMED
Vehicle struck a utility pole with substantial damage; Neither passenger nor driver was present when police arrived; Petitioner was located at his home address, highly intoxicated and injured. He was arrested after field tests for DWI and submitted to a blood test. Petitioner claims "that he was not clearly advised he was under arrest at the time he was administered the blood test. ".The officer agreed that she was not sure whether he was specifically advised he was under arrest. Petitioner did not testify. "The evidence was that he was handcuffed, placed in the cruiser and processed for DWI. The Court determined the evidence was sufficient to support the examiner's findings."
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Fay v. Beecher, 04-E-650, (Rockingham,Morrill, 04/21/05) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in an accident; When Petitioner was in the ambulance the officer noted a strong odor of alcoholic beverage, his eyes were red, bloodshot and glassy and he readily admitted to having consumed two beers at the country club. Petitioner arrested for DWI; refused to submit to a breath test. Petitioner claims "that the officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe that the arrested person had been driving… ". "The Court's determination of the matter is limited to the record of the hearing. The issue is whether the evidence was sufficient to support the examiner's findings. The Court finds that the suspension of license was reasonable."
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Mazurczyk v. Beecher, 04-E-197, (SD Hillsborough, Groff, 06/30/04) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in an accident; Petitioner appeared at the lobby of the Police Department to report an accident. The officer noted Petitioner's voice was slurred, his eyes were bloodshot and glassy and he admitted to having consumed (1) good drink. Petitioner submitted to FST's and failed; arrested for DWI; refused to submit to a breath test. Petitioner claims "that the officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe that the arrested person had been driving …". Absent a transcript, "The Court's determination of the matter is limited to the record of the hearing. The issue is whether the officer's conclusion was reasonable. The Court finds that it was. The findings of the hearing officer … are clearly reasonable and lawful."
Richards v. Beecher, 03-E-41, (Strafford, Lewis, 01/08/04) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in an accident; advised of ALS rights; refused the breath test; information was relayed that Petitioner was driving in an erratic manner; hit a guardrail and that "he's all over the road". Court held: Hearings Examiner did not err in relying on hearsay testified to by the officer and in crediting the officer's testimony; Petitioner did not testify; "…decision is solidly supported by the record."
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Sheridan v. Beecher, 02-E-442, (ND Hillsborough, Mangones, 1/30/03) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in an accident; petitioner denied driving; Hearings Examiner relied on circumstantial evidence indicating petitioner was the driver;petitioner appealed, citing insufficient evidence to support the Hearings Examiner's findings.Court held: "The Hearing Examiner's findings of fact are deemed prima facie lawful and reasonable. RSA 263:75 III As noted by our Supreme Court …" Our standard of review is not whether we would have found as the [fact finder] did, but whether there was evidence on which he [or she] could reasonably base his [or her] findings." Quinlan v. City of Dover … citing to Biggs v. Town of Sandwich …"
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Brien v. Beecher, 00-E-449, (ND Hillsborough, Brennan, 2/22/01) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident;petitioner claims that he was not driving;officer arrived at the scene found the vehicle unoccupied;patrolled the vicinity for the missing driver; stopped at a nearby store; questioned store clerk, who described an individual who had stated that he "had just put his truck into a pole" and that he had left approximately 5-10 minutes earlier; officer followed the petitioner, he had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and his eyes were bloodshot, a small cut on his chin and blood on the left sleeve of his shirt; petitioner claims he was not driving as he had a prior O.U.I.L. conviction, had left the scene of an accident because he was afraid of the consequences. Court held:"the hearings examiner had sufficient evidence to conclude that the petitioner was operating the motor vehicle at the time of the accident."
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Huoppi v. Beecher, 99-E-411, (ND Hillsborough, Groff, 3/2/00) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; plaintiff claimed that there was not sufficient evidence that she was driving vehicle at time of accident; plaintiff's boyfriend initially indicated to hospital personnel that he had been driving but quickly changed his story and stated it was plaintiff; arrested for DWI; "The circumstances surrounding the statements were important. According to the ambulance personnel, Mr. O'Donnell had quickly recanted his initial admission that he was driving. When interviewed by Sergeant D'Oria, Mr. O'Donnell indicated that the appellant was driving and related facts about how he arrived at the scene. The police officers saw him at the scene, in his own car, and saw him leave in it. Certainly in sorting out the conflicting evidence, it was reasonable for Trooper Fogerty to credit O'Donnell's statement that appellant was the driver as the truthful statement. It was corroborated by the circumstances under which it was given to Sergeant D'Oria and by the existence of Mr. O'Donnell's car at the scene and his use of it". (NOTE: cross-reference to Section I of probable cause, Section I of refusal and Section V of procedural issues involving ALS cases.
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Fitts-Cloonen v. Beecher, 99-E-277, (SD Hillsborough, Dalianis, 10/29/99) REVERSED
Vehicle involved in hit-and-run accident; witness gave police officer license number and identified plaintiff as person operating vehicle; witness did not state when accident had occurred; officer drove to plaintiff's home and spoke with her; arrested for DWI; court held that "… there is no evidence, other than the petitioner's testimony that she returned home from waiting in the parking lot at 1 Merrimack Drive at approximately 6:35 p.m., as to what time the accident occurred … Officer Kilkelly did not know when Mr. Smith arrived at or departed from his friend's condominium. Mrs. Ibrahim did not tell the officer at approximately what time she witnessed the accident. Thus, in light of this, although the petitioner had been drinking when the officer arrived at her apartment at 8:02 p.m. and could have been intoxicated at that time, it is unreasonable to determine that petitioner was intoxicated at the time of the accident". (NOTE: cross-reference to Section II of probable cause)
Bobek v. Beecher, 99-E-184, (ND Hillsborough, Conboy, 10/13/99) AFFIRMED
Trooper observed abandoned van crashed into ditch on side of road at approximately 9:13 p.m.; while there, plaintiff's wife drove up and claimed that plaintiff was walking home; trooper advised her to go home and notify trooper as soon as plaintiff returned home; when he did not hear anything further, trooper went to plaintiff's residence at 11:00 p.m.; plaintiff admitted to driving van at time of accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that there was not sufficient evidence to believe that he was intoxicated at time of accident, two hours before trooper arrested him; "First, Petitioner's reliance on Schneider is misplaced since that case did not address the question of how long it takes alcohol to render a person impaired but, rather, dealt with how quickly blood leaves a person's system, thereby affecting the accuracy of a breathalyzer test … Second, the Court finds that based on the record, a sufficient amount of time passed such that the petitioner could have been intoxicated at the time of the accident. The petitioner testified at the ALS hearing that he told Trooper Bolduc he had two beers at a friend's house and then two more beers with dinner prior to driving. Certainly, enough time passed for alcohol to enter the petitioner's system and render him impaired", citing State v. Schneider. (NOTE: cross-reference to Sections I and II of probable cause and Section IV of refusal)
Suitter v. Beecher, 98-E-207, (Strafford, Mohl, 4/23/99) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in hit and run accident; located vehicle and plaintiff admitted that she had been driving and was involved in accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that Hearings Examiner erred by disregarding testimony of supporting witness; court held that testimony did "… not contradict any of the evidence inculpating the petitioner. At best, she corroborates the petitioner's testimony that she had loaned her vehicle to an acquaintance on September 3. However, that the petitioner loaned her vehicle to an acquaintance on September 3 has no bearing on whether she had access to her vehicle at 1 a.m. on September 4, the time the accident occurred. Especially considering the petitioner, herself, testified that the acquaintance returned her vehicle to the agreed upon drop off location on Main Street in Somersworth by midnight of September 4". (NOTE: cross-reference to Section V of procedural issues involving ALS cases)
Corcimiglia v. Beecher, 98-E-223, (Strafford, Mohl, 4/16/99) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that police officer had no personal knowledge of plaintiff's conduct and that a lapse of time occurred; court held that there were "reasonable grounds" to believe that plaintiff had been driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, "… including the petitioner's admission that he had just returned home and that he had recently consumed alcohol"; relative to lapse of time, court held that "… although no evidence was introduced regarding the time of the accident, it was 'reasonable to conclude that the operation occurred shortly before the witnesses reported same, as they were able to obtain the driver's description and license plate number'"; finally, plaintiff claimed that accident may have contributed to perception that he was under the influence of alcohol; court held that "… even if the petitioner's lack of coordination was the result of his accident and not intoxication, Officer Bealand had sufficient probable cause to arrest the petitioner for DUI". (NOTE: cross-reference to Section IV of probable cause and Section V of procedural issues involving ALS cases)
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Thompson v. Beecher, 98-E-199, (Merrimack, Manias, 9/10/98) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that there was not sufficient evidence to believe that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident, which he alleged had occurred over an hour before; "Officer Blanchard testified that he arrived at the petitioner's home between 10 to 15 minutes after receiving the message from dispatch. The officer also testified that it was his belief, based on standard dispatch procedure, that the accident had occurred just moments earlier since dispatch did not specify the time of the accident. The petitioner told Officer Blanchard that he had not had a drink in two hours, and that he had been to the Irving station an hour ago. The petitioner was upset that the accident had been reported, and stated that there had been no damage to either vehicle. Based upon these assertions by the petitioner, Officer Blanchard could reasonably assume that the petitioner was in the same condition at the time he answered his door as he was at the time of the accident. Furthermore, the hood of the vehicle was warm, and there was nothing to suggest that anyone other than the petitioner had been driving the vehicle". (NOTE: cross-reference to Sections I and II of procedural issues involving ALS cases)
Lugones v. Beecher, 98-E-30, (Strafford, Nadeau, 5/12/98) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that there was not sufficient evidence to believe that he had been operating the vehicle at the time of the accident; "… the petitioner was intoxicated, he owned a car that had been abandoned after an accident on the Spaulding Turnpike, the car smelled of alcohol, and a man closely matching the petitioner's description was seen walking away from the accident scene. When the petitioner was accused of being the driver, he responded 'I don't know man …'. Moreover, the petitioner told Kelley that he does not allow others to drive his car. Finally, the petitioner provided false information to the officer: he said he just been at a store, pointing where no store existed, and claimed that his car was parked at home"; sufficient probable cause to believe plaintiff was operating the vehicle. (NOTE: cross-reference to illegal detention section; also, very detailed analysis of facts in this case, including a discussion of circumstantial evidence and evidence relied upon in absence of verbatim transcript!)
Zintel v. Beecher, 97-E-252, (Merrimack, Manias, 1/26/98) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that there was not sufficient evidence to arrest him for DWI; "the hearings examiner heard testimony which showed that the petitioner sped around a corner and had a single- vehicle motorcycle accident, sustaining injuries to his head and face. Officer Barry … noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from the petitioner. Finally, the emergency technicians who treated the petitioner in the ambulance told Officer Bergeron that an odor of alcohol was coming from the petitioner … Officer Bergeron could not give the petitioner field sobriety tests because of his injuries"; although plaintiff denied consuming alcohol, court held that there was sufficient probable cause for an arrest.
Morrison v. Beecher, 97-E-201, (Merrimack, Manias, 1/21/98) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that there was not sufficient evidence to believe that he was operating the vehicle; "the evidence at the hearing reflected that the officer responded to a dispatch about an accident involving a possible drunk driver. Upon arrival … the officer observed a truck off the road and into a tree. The officer observed the petitioner inside of the truck, leaning over from the driver's side to the passenger's side of the vehicle. The officer opened the vehicle's door and spoke to the petitioner"; sufficient probable cause to believe plaintiff was operating the vehicle, citing Hartgers v. Town of Plaistow. (NOTE: cross-reference to jurisdictional issues involving ALS cases and section involving back of ALS form)
Carey v. Beecher, 97-E-410, (Rockingham, Galway, 1/20/98) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; no one at scene; officer found ID card belonging to plaintiff and vehicle was registered to plaintiff; officer advised that operator of vehicle had left the scene in another vehicle; one-half hour later, officer observed plaintiff getting into passenger side of vehicle at a store; officer stopped vehicle and plaintiff admitted that he had been driving and was on his way back to the accident scene; arrested for DWI; court held that "… Sgt. Kurkul could reasonably have suspected that a person resembling Chip Carey in a car owned by Paul Carey near the accident scene within a short time of the accident was, indeed such a driver"; court also determined that there was sufficient probable cause for an arrest, including "… the operation of the vehicle … the odor of alcohol, his unsteadiness on his feet, his statement that he had been drinking, and his performance on the field sobriety tests", citing State v. Melanson and State v. McBreairty.
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Tallent v. Beecher, 97-E-261, (SD Hillsborough, Dalianis, 9/9/97) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; court held "(1) that the plaintiff had failed to stop at a flashing red light; (2) that her failure to stop caused an accident; (3) that the odor of alcohol was emanating from the plaintiff; (4) that the plaintiff had admitted to consuming alcohol; (5) that the plaintiff's eyes were bloodshot and watery; (6) that the plaintiff was exhibiting mood swings similar to mood swings exhibited by intoxicated individuals; and (7) that the plaintiff had failed an HGN test"; sufficient probable cause for an arrest, citing State v. Brown and State v. Jaroma. (NOTE: cross-reference to illegal detention and Section I of refusal)
Letson v. Beecher, 97-E-93, (ND Hillsborough, Sullivan, 7/1/97) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that there was not sufficient evidence to arrest him for DWI because he had not been seen driving the vehicle and he denied any involvement with the accident; court held that there was sufficient evidence, citing State v. Leary and State v. Schneider; court also held that there was sufficient probable cause for an arrest, citing 11 different factors. (NOTE: very detailed factual analysis of probable cause; also, cross-reference to Section IV of procedural issues involving ALS cases)
Champagne v. Beecher, 96-E-322, (Merrimack, Nadeau, 4/21/97) AFFIRMED
Motorcycle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that there not sufficient evidence that he was operating the motorcycle at the time of the accident; court held that "the record amply supports the examiner's conclusion. A witness heard the motorcycle drive by his home and crash nearby. This witness came to the accident scene one minute after the crash and saw the appellant on the ground near the motorcycle. A search conducted by two police officers ten minutes later revealed that no other people were in the area. Finally, the appellant's injuries were consistent with having been the driver of the motorcycle … the circumstantial evidence … supports the hearings examiner's finding that the appellant was operating the motorcycle". (NOTE: cross-reference to Section I of refusal)
Riendeau v. Beecher, 96-E-394, (SD Hillsborough, Dalianis, 2/26/97) REVERSED
Vehicle involved in minor motorcycle accident; arrested for DWI; court held that there was not sufficient probable cause for an arrest; "a review of the record reveals that prior to his arrest, the officer noted that the plaintiff's eyes had no problem 'tracking' and that the size of his pupils did not indicate intoxication. Plaintiff did not slur his speech, was not staggering or swaying, and had no problem understanding and responding to the officer. All of these observations are inconsistent with a conclusion that the plaintiff was intoxicated while driving. Although the plaintiff was involved in a minor accident, and did deny drinking at first, these two factors examined in totality with the ones mentioned above do not make the officer's determination reasonable". (NOTE: cross-reference to Section IV of procedural issues involving ALS cases)
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Ryan v. Beecher, 96-E-218, (ND Hillsborough, Lynn, 11/14/96) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that accident was caused by blown tire which court rejected stating "this suggestion is pure speculation … she could give no explanation at all for what occurred, merely stating that she was on her way home and hit a pole"; court also rejected plaintiff's argument that poor performance on FS tests could have resulted from injuries sustained in accident and held that there was sufficient probable cause for an arrest, citing State v. Crotty and State v. Birmingham. (NOTE: there is detailed discussion of factors relied upon by court in finding probable cause and in addition, court distinguished this case from that of Donovan v. Beecher, cited below, and a District Court opinion out of Hooksett District Court!)
Roy v. Beecher, 96-E-100, (Merrimack, Manias, 6/14/96) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff alleged that injuries sustained in the accident could have been responsible for her slurred speech, glassy eyes and results of HGN test, rather than intoxication; court "… finds this argument without merit", citing State v. Hutton. (NOTE: cross-reference to Section III of probable cause)
Charest v. Beecher, 96-E-48, (ND Hillsborough, Lynn, 6/13/96) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in minor accident; moderate odor of alcohol on breath; fumbled and dropped license; bloodshot and watery eyes; slurred speech and failure of four out of five FS tests, taking into account his bad back; court held that there was sufficient probable cause for an arrest.
Aiken v. Beecher, 96-E-37, (ND Hillsborough, Conboy, 4/4/96) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; no one at scene; vehicle registered to Aiken; arrived at home and invited inside; father indicated that his son had been driving vehicle and had just arrived at home; plaintiff admitted driving but denied drinking alcohol; arrested for DWI; court held that "both Mr. Aiken and the petitioner confirmed the fact that the petitioner had been driving when the car went off the road. Officer Selvitella noted that the petitioner had blood-shot and glassy eyes, slurred speech, and had an odor of alcohol about him. Furthermore, the petitioner failed a battery of sobriety tests"; sufficient probable cause for an arrest, citing State v. Leary, State v. Christy, State v. Crotty and State v. Vachon. (NOTE: also detailed discussion of warrantless consent search as court held that father invited police officer into home without threat or coercion and had authority to direct police officer to plaintiff!)
Fox v. Beecher, 95-E-339, (Merrimack, Manias, 2/16/96) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; court agreed with Hearings Examiner in finding that "the trooper had reasonable grounds for believing the respondent was driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor after determining that she may have contributed to the cause of the accident, observing an odor of alcohol on the [petitioner's] breath, thick tongued speech, red and glassy eyes, finding alcohol in the [petitioner's] vehicle and the [petitioner's] failing the HGN test"; court also held that the Hearings Examiner sufficiently covered the fact that only an HGN test was given. (NOTE: cross-reference to Section IV of grounds for stop for discussion of search of vehicle)
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Orino v. Beecher, 95-E-52, (Carroll, Abramson, 11/2/95) AFFIRMED
Vehicle stuck in snowbank off the road; plaintiff was owner and operator of vehicle; odor of alcohol on plaintiff's breath; failed FS tests; arrested for DWI; accident reported at 10:15 pm and trooper had traveled on road between 8:30 and 9:00 pm; court held that "based on the Trooper's thirteen years of law enforcement experience and hundreds of DWI arrests Trooper Rowland felt that Petitioner's appearance and conduct indicated he was heavily intoxicated. Trooper Rowland further testified that it takes thirty to forty five minutes for alcohol to observably affect someone. The Trooper did not know exactly when the petitioner had been drinking but based on the Trooper's experience and the strong odor of alcohol, he felt petitioner had been drinking throughout the evening"; sufficient probable cause for an arrest. (NOTE: cross-reference to Section IV of procedural issues involving ALS cases for discussion of collateral estoppel)
Donovan v. Beecher, 95-E-246, (ND Hillsborough, Groff, 10/19/95) REVERSED
Vehicle involved in serious accident; arrested for DWI; court held that "… the facts available to Trooper Long consisted solely of the fact that the appellant had been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, had received serious bodily injury, including fractured ribs, had vomited, had an odor of alcohol emanating from his mouth, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. While Trooper Long could have had a suspicion that defendant was under the influence, under the circumstances of this case the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to find that there was probable cause to believe the appellant was under the influence".
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Belanger v. Turner, 94-E-346, (Rockingham, Perkins, 9/2/94) REVERSED
Vehicle had hit tree and sustained significant damage; unable to locate anyone in the area; odor of alcohol in vehicle as well as cans of beer; officers went to phone booth in area in case driver was making a phone call; vehicle owned by plaintiff and got a description of him; observed red vehicle leaving scene of phone booth; advised that subjects had used the phone for a long time; two males in the vehicle, one generally fitting the description of the plaintiff; stopped red vehicle and plaintiff was passenger; arrested for DWI; court stated that officer had "insufficient probable cause and/or articulable suspicion to stop the red Volkswagon" and but for that stop, there would have been no reason to believe plaintiff was in actual physical control of the vehicle which was involved in the accident.
Stevens v. Turner, E-94-9, (Belknap, O'Neil, W., 6/3/94) AFFIRMED
Observed vehicle speeding from the opposite direction; turned to follow vehicle and observed it off the road and down an embankment; no other vehicles in area so court stated it "was obvious that the speeding car was Petitioner's"; plaintiff climbed out window and found his way up the embankment; claimed he fell asleep at wheel; arrested for DWI; court held that there was sufficient probable cause for an arrest. (NOTE: cross-reference to section involving back of ALS form)
Furney v. Turner, 94-E-89-B, (SD Hillsborough, Murphy, 5/25/94) AFFIRMED
One-car accident; vehicle embedded in snowbank; plaintiff claimed he swerved to avoid hitting animal; admitted to having a "couple beers"; failed FS tests and arrested for DWI; court held that there was sufficient probable cause for an arrest, citing State v. Vachon and State v. Birmingham. (NOTE: good definition of probable cause!)
Davis v. Turner, 94-E-59-B, (SD Hillsborough, Hampsey, 5/19/94) AFFIRMED
Vehicle stuck in snow bank; plaintiff seated in passenger seat but son indicated plaintiff had been driving vehicle; engine running and lights on; plaintiff uncooperative and stated repeatedly he was passenger; arrested for DWI; court stated that there was sufficient probable cause for an arrest. (NOTE: cross-reference to Section V of refusal)
Devine v. Turner, 94-E-22, (ND Hillsborough, Perkins, 3/18/94) AFFIRMED
Vehicle had hit guardrail and sustained significant damage; no one in area; odor of alcohol in vehicle and several empty beer cans; anonymous caller indicated that he took driver home and he appeared "drunk"; provided address; officer arrived at address and spoke to plaintiff; plaintiff admitted being involved in accident and advised that he had consumed NO alcohol since the accident; failed FS tests and arrested for DWI; court held that there was "articulable suspicion to request that the petitioner submit to the performance test and probable cause to arrest him …".
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Gallup v. Turner, 93-E-380, (Merrimack, Arnold, 11/2/93) REVERSED
Accident in parking lot of apartment complex; exchanged information and both vehicles left; one party notified officer because he smelled alcohol on the other's breath; officer spoke to plaintiff outside of his apartment 45 minutes after accident; plaintiff confirmed accident; failed FS tests and arrested for DWI; plaintiff stated that he consumed a beer after the accident; court held that "the fact that the petitioner is found to be impaired three quarters of an hour after the accident, after consuming an unknown quantity of beer, does not provide adequate grounds to assess the petitioner's impairment at the time of the accident".
White v. Turner, 93-E-138, (Rockingham, Coffey, 6/3/93) AFFIRMED
IMPLIED CONSENT NOT ALS: vehicle involved in accident; court held that "petitioner admitted to the officer to driving and to being involved in a motor vehicle accident; the officer smelled a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from petitioner's mouth; petitioner failed one field sobriety test; and petitioner admitted to having had a few cocktails. Given the totality of the circumstances, it is clear that the officer had reasonable grounds for the arrest".
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