Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Can Police Search My Car at a Sobriety Checkpoint in NH?

Police Need Reasonable Cause to Search Your Vehicle During a Sobriety Checkpoint in New Hampshire
DUI Lawyer in Manchester NHIn order to search your car at a random sobriety checkpoint in New Hampshire, the police will need probable cause to do so. If the officer suspects that the driver is using alcohol or drugs, he/she can follow a process to try to obtain a warrant to search the car. If the officer smells the strong odor of alcohol on the driver or coming from the car, this could warrant suspicion. If so, the driver will be asked to exit the vehicle and complete sobriety tests.
If the sobriety tests are failed, suspicion arises.. In order to go any further, the officer must justify the need to search the vehicle in order to do so without a warrant. Some possible probable cause could include odors coming from vehicle or driver, the visual sight of incriminating evidence that is in plain view, or consent of the driver.  An officer might also search a vehicle after an arrest pursuant to an inventory search exception to the warrant requirement.

Exceptions to Probable Cause

While it is not likely for a vehicle to be searched without a warrant, there are exceptions to the rule.

The bottom line is, while a vehicle search is not likely to take place at a sobriety checkpoint, it is possible and completely legal for police to search the vehicle if they have supporting reasons to do so.  It is important to plainly and respectfully make it known to the officer that you are refusing consent to search your vehicle.  If you find yourself in this predicament, a qualified DUI lawyer in New Hampshire can help determine if the search was justifiable or not.

By Richard Monteith


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New Hampshire Gun Laws - Senate Bill 12

Senate Bill 12 Gains Ground in New Gun Laws - New Hampshire

Across the United States, gun laws have been institutionalized based on the given state. Based on the 2nd amendment, all residents of the United States have the right to bear arms. There are specific laws in every state that dictate how the firearm can be carried and what licensing is required. In the state of New Hampshire, the current laws may be about to change if Senate Bill 12 continues to gain momentum.

Gun laws in New Hampshire
Senate Bill 12 is sponsored by Senator Jeb Bradley of New Hampshire and would eliminate the current requirement that individuals who carry a concealed weapon must have a permit to do so. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has passed the bill with a vote of 12 to 8 which now moves the bill to the House where it will be considered by all members within the House of Representatives. Voters can contact local representatives urging that the bill be passed or voted against.

Currently, state law in New Hampshire recognizes that any citizen who is legally capable of owning and possessing a firearm has the right to carry it openly. The firearm can be loaded or unloaded and carried anywhere in the state, with no prohibitions in place. If the firearm is covered in any way, then the individual must have a permit for concealed carry. This would be a concealed carry handgun license.
An example of this would be if a female citizen of New Hampshire wanted to carry a firearm in her purse. The female would have to have a license to carry the weapon with a concealed carry handgun license in place. With the proposed legislation, the female would be allowed to keep the handgun on her person or in a purse concealed, without having additional licensing.

Senate Bill 12 seeks to extend permitless open carry to permitless concealed carry. This means any law abiding citizen who owns a gun would be able to carry the firearm seen or unseen anywhere in the state. Along with the licensing changes, the bill will also extend the time frame in which the licensing is valid. Currently, licenses are good for four years. However, if the bill were to pass, license holders would have a five year time frame before a renewal is required.

Similar legislation was proposed last year but was vetoed by the former Governor of the state Maggie Hassan. Legislators are more confident this year that the bill will pass especially if citizens become more active and voice their support in the matter.

Criminal defense lawyers in New Hampshire commonly see cases that involve open carry or concealed weapon issues. If this bill passes, individuals would have more support when it comes to carrying firearms as law-abiding citizens. The law would be on their side if any instance comes up where an individual is charged with carrying a weapon unlawfully or other problems arise.
Residents of the state will now have to wait and see how the full House votes and if the legislation will be moving forward, becoming law.

By Richard Monteith