On August 1st, 2017 the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued an opinion reversing and vacating, in part, two convictions for aggravated driving while intoxicated (DWI) for James Fogg.
Mr. Fogg was operating his vehicle in Concord while under the influence of drugs. He crashed into another vehicle causing serious bodily injury to both occupants. The State elected to charge him with two counts of aggravated DWI based on the two separate injuries and the trial court found him guilty of both crimes.
The Court explained that under New Hampshire law, there are four aggravating factors that will turn a DWI into an aggravated DWI. These factors are: (1) driving more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit; (2) causing a motor vehicle collision that results in serious bodily injury to another; (3) attempting to elude a police officer by increasing speed, extinguishing lights, or abandoning the vehicle; (4) carrying a passenger under the age of 16 years old; and (5) having a blood alcohol concentration that is 0.16 or more.
The Court explained that the statute only made Mr. Fogg’s conduct one and not two separate aggravated DWI offenses. The Court pointed out that if it were viewed as two crimes, it would lead to absurd results. For instance, if a person increased speed to try to get away from a police officer and then abandoned his vehicle, it would not make sense to convict him of two separate crimes based on that conduct. Similarly if a driver exceeded the speed limit by 30 miles per hour on two occasions in a short time span it would not make sense to convict him of two separate crimes.
The Court pointed out that the State could have charged him with additional crimes under the facts of Mr. Fogg’s case such as vehicular assault, or reckless driving.
When you are charged with a DUI/DWI in New Hampshire it is important to have qualified representation. The consequences can include jail time, fines and a significant period of license suspension.