Harden Law Offices

104 Main Street, Lancaster, NH 03584 603.788.2080
15 Main Street, Littleton, NH 03561 603.444.2084
199 Heater Road, Lebanon, NH 03766 603.448.3737

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Holiday DWI? You are not alone. Steps to Survive DWI Season.

Thanksgiving to Christmas increases the risk of being arrested for DWI.  Thanksgiving Eve is unofficially the busiest night for bars in the year.  The holiday season is a busy time for travel and increased social drinking.
cmas dwi
Whether you are attending an office party, seeing family or seeing old friends.  It is important to know that the police view this time of year as "DWI Season."

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), deaths from drinking and driving spike around the holidays, with alcohol being blamed for about 52 percent of fatal collisions on Christmas and 57 percent on New Years compared to a rate of 41 percent for the entire year. In addition to the more than 1,200 alcohol-related deaths that will occur on the road this holiday season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 25,000 people will be injured.

Federal traffic safety data reveals the death toll per day due to drunk driving is significantly higher during the holiday seasons compared to the rest of the year.  According to a report by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 40 percent of traffic-related fatalities during Christmas and New Year’s are linked to drunk driving. This is a whopping 12 percent higher than the rest of the month of December.

Steps to Protect Yourself and Others

1. If you drink, don't drive. Zero tolerance means no arrests.
2. Plan ahead and have a designated driver or arrange for a ride before going out.
3. Always be polite to police, but decline to provide evidence by declining voluntary field tests and making admissions. 
4. When driving, be cautious and watch for the erratic movements of potential drunken drivers.
5. If you are charged contact a DWI lawyer immediately.

Leonard D. Harden is an experienced trial lawyer focusing solely on DWI and criminal defense cases in Northern New Hampshire. Attorney Harden is the only lawyer in Coos County that handles criminal defense exclusively. His in-depth knowledge and zealous handling of each DWI case set him apart. Attorney Harden has over 20 years of experience in criminal law and a successful track record in defending clients.
handcuffs-transA DWI conviction can have serious repercussions on your life. If you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DUI or DWI) in New Hampshire, it is important that you contact Attorney Harden immediately, 603-788-2080.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cinderella License is Coming to NH

  Cinderella License Starts January 1, 2016.

Image result for driving a carSome of the most common questions that people facing a DWI ask are:   "how will I get to work?"   "does NH have a  'work permit' or 'Cinderella license'?"  The answer for as long as I have practiced DWI law, over 20 years, was simply there is no provision for work or a so called  'Cinderella License'.   Even now the NH DMV still says no Cinderella License , however, Starting January 1, 2016 there will be some help for NH drivers facing a DWI 1st offense.

NH citizens are often faced with limited mass transit and long commutes to work or school or helping sick family members.  I represent citizens accused of DWI in Northern NH where there are even longer distances and fewer public transportation options.  People charged with a DWI 1st have been forced to come up with alternative ways to get to work or school or face the consequences of  Operating After Suspension.

Finally, common sense has prevailed on our legislature and  they have passed a Restricted License law for first time DWI offenders.  This means that a first time DWI offender will be allowed to drive to work, school, and medical appointments provided they meet the criteria.

The new law RSA 263:57-b and can be found here:  Restricted License

Starting January 1, 2016 NH DWI first time offenders may petition the Court to approve a restricted license after serving a 45 day suspension as long as they meet the following:

       (a) That the person must operate a motor vehicle as a requisite of the person's occupation or employment.
       (b) That the person must operate a motor vehicle to seek employment or to get to and from a place of employment.
       (c) That the person must operate a motor vehicle to get to or from an alcohol or drug treatment or rehabilitation program.
       (d) That the person or a member of the person's immediate family requires medical treatment on a regular basis and the person must operate a motor vehicle in order that the treatment may be obtained.
       (e) That the person must operate a motor vehicle to continue his or her education.
       (f) That the person must operate a motor vehicle to attend job training.

The person must pay a fee and install an ignition interlock device on any cars registered to them, or used by them on a regular basis, for the remaining term of suspension.  If you are currently facing a DWI 1st and want to avail yourself of this restricted license you can petition the court for a restricted license now.

In addition to the court approving the petition you will need to serve 45 days of the suspension, strictly comply with the travel times, places and days ordered, have an installed enhanced ignition interlock device, provide a copy of the Court order to the local police and have a copy in your vehicle.

There are many steps involved in getting approved and complying with the restricted license law.  There are also lots of issues that are unresolved with this new law.  If you are facing a DWI and looking to benefit from this law you need to contact an attorney that is familiar with the law and is able to solve problems with the DMV and the Courts.  Attorney Harden has a long standing good relationship with representatives at the NH DMV, knows all the people to navigate the bureaucracy and has the experience to get you driving as soon as possible.

If you are charged with a DWI in Grafton, Coos or Carroll County contact attorney Len Harden.  He will help  get you driving again as soon as possible.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Shameful Politics Hurt Justice

NH Executive Council voting politics instead of justice!

Our judicial system is supposed to be filled with judges who are are fair as the lot of humanity.  It is a sad day when the politics of partisans corrupt the process to derail a truly deserving and qualified judicial candidate. Dorothy Graham you have my vote.

There are currently many judges on the bench in NH who were public defenders, appellate defenders and prosecutors.  A bi-partisan committee vets all judicial candidates and there are public hearings held prior to being confirmed.  There is no role for politics in the process.  The entire idea of our government is to have checks and balances.  This is an example of the check mate stalling and fouling our system. Shame on the executive councillors who voted politics instead of reason.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Laurie list

A good  history about the so called "Laurie list". There is a commission to study implementing a Laurie list set for a final meeting on October 7, 2015. As stated in this article there is no statewide list and each prosecutor is tasked with keeping track of police with issues affecting credibility. 


Thursday, September 24, 2015

ACLU Report Exposes Debtors’ Prison Practices in New Hampshire

 A debtors' prison is a prison for people who are unable to pay debt. Through the mid 19th century, debtors' prisons (usually similar in form to locked workhouses) were a common way to deal with unpaid debt in Western Europe.  Sadly this practice has been ongoing in modern NH Courts.  The ACLU has issued a report detailing the costs, unconstitutional nature and exposed the unfairness of this practice.  Our justice system cannot tolerate these rogue judges' actions.

ACLU report:

CONCORD – The U.S. Constitution and New Hampshire state law prohibit courts from jailing people for being too poor to pay their legal fines, but local courts throughout New Hampshire are doing it anyway. The ACLU of New Hampshire (“ACLU-NH”) today released Debtors’ Prisons in New HampshireDebtors' Prisons IN New Hampshire, a report that chronicles a year-long investigation into New Hampshire’s debtors’ prison practices.
This investigation was initiated after the ACLU-NH handled three cases in 2014 where two Superior Court Judges and the New Hampshire Supreme Court granted relief to three indigent individuals—Alejandra Corro, Richard Vaughan, and Dennis Suprenant—who were (or were going to be) illegally jailed by circuit courts due to their inability to pay fines. These cases, which are described in the “Personal Stories” section of the report, show that debtors’ prison practices can counterproductively lead to termination of an individual’s new employment, impede ongoing efforts of that individual to gain employment, and prevent struggling parents from caring for their infant children.
“Being poor is not a crime in this country,” said Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU-NH. “Incarcerating people who cannot afford to pay fines is both unconstitutional and cruel. It takes a tremendous toll on precisely those families already struggling the most.”
The law requires that courts hold hearings to determine defendants’ financial status before jailing them for failure to pay fines, and defendants must be provided with lawyers for these hearings. If a defendant cannot pay, the court must explore options other than jail.
“Supreme Court precedent and New Hampshire law make clear that local courts and jails should not function as debtors’ prisons,” said Albert E. Scherr, a Professor of Law at the University of New Hampshire School of Law and Chairman of the ACLU-NH Board of Directors. “Yet circuit courts in New Hampshire routinely jail people without making any attempt whatsoever to determine whether they can afford to pay their fines.”
Beyond its clear illegality, debtors’ prison practices make no financial sense since the government spends more to jail defendants than it ever recovers in fines. As the report explains, it costs New Hampshire’s county jails approximately $110 per day to house an individual, yet an individual serves off a fine at a rate of $50 per day. This $50 per day amount will never be paid back to the government once that time is served. Based on the data received and this $110 per day cost, the report concludes that the total costs of these practices to taxpayers statewide can be reasonably approximated to $166,870 in 2013 to address an estimated $75,850 in unpaid fines that were ultimately never collected.
“Not only are these courts violating the law, they are actually causing the government to lose money doing it,” said Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director of the ACLU-NH. “As the report demonstrates, in jailing people who are unable to pay fines, the government is spending more money than the individual owed in the first place.”
“These practices are legally prohibited, morally questionable, and financially unsound. Nevertheless, they appear to be alive and well in New Hampshire,” added Bissonnette.

September 23, 2015 Tagged with: ,