Preparation for Being Stopped in a New Hampshire DWI Roadblock
May 12, 2011 Leave a comment
During this summer, your chances of being stopped and hassled by the police in New Hampshire are higher than ever due to DWI roadblocks and aggressive traffic law enforcement that will be taking place. This is because of the government issuing large amounts of money to stop cars to see if any one might be drunk. These roadblocks, however, fail to stop many drunk drivers. Typically, if the police stop about 100 cars they may find at least one person who they even SUSPECT of a DWI. What they end up citing, though, are lots of other motor vehicle arrests, or people with warrants, just so they can report “SIX ARRESTED AT DWI CHECKPOINT,” etc. If you peel back the onion, you will find that only one or two were DWI arrests, and the rest were an array of irrelevant, sundry motor vehicle code offenses or benign inspection violations. While driving around this summer, bear in mind the following tips:
1. Make Sure Your Inspection Stickers and Registrations Are ValidMake sure that your car has a valid inspection sticker, as well as a valid registration. When you drive into a roadblock, or even drive by the police this summer without a valid inspection sticker you can count on being stopped and hassled. The police will take any chance they can get to pull you over for any reason! Like all other motor vehicle codes, the police often co-opt this to see if you have been drinking or have drugs in your car. The penalty for a violation of this section of the motor vehicle code is $60, but the real penalty is when the police smell alcohol or suspect that you have been drinking after stopping you for the lack of an inspection sticker. Many drivers who are initially stopped for this minor violation end up charged with DWI, DUI or OUI. AVOID one potential for this by making sure your inspection sticker is up to date.
2. Make Sure Your Plate Lights and Other Lights Work Everyone driving at night should check their brake lights, plate lights, and other lighting, as well as their inspection stickers and license plates. The most unoriginal of motor vehicle stops begins with a passive equipment violation, such as those I’ve just mentioned. In these types of stops, the driver is not exhibiting any signs of impairment. In fact, the driver may be following all rules of the road – obeying the speed limit, maintaining appropriate lane control, steady driving – but he finds himself in the flashing blue glow of police lighting, wondering why he was stopped.
This high number of stops for equipment violations in recent years is not because the police have taken a sudden interest in the functioning of plate lights or drivers using turn signals late at night when there is no one else on the road. The police have a broader goal; to fight the war on drugs. Many DWI arrests ensue after these stops when the police can’t find any drugs after the stop.
Again, avoid giving the police some of these chances to legally stop you by making sure that all your lights are functioning, your registration and inspection stickers are up to date, and your license is valid.
PREPARATION FOR THE WORST CASE SCENARIO – It is not a bad idea to prepare for this event. Have your license and registration in an easy place to find and an easy place to quickly and effortlessly produce upon demand. Practice taking your license out of your wallet in the safety of your home. CONSIDER GETTING A REGISTRATION HOLDER TO KEEP YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION IN. If you do not have one, send me an e-mail with your mailing address and I will send you a registration holder for every one of your vehicles, free of charge. Then practice producing your license and registration fairly frequently. It will make it easier to do if you ever have to produce them under a pressurized roadside situation.
Have a safe summer,