NH Motorist Arrested For DWI Probation Violation After Posting On Facebook
In the state of New Hampshire, when a motorist is arrested for, and convicted of, driving while intoxicated (DWI), then there are a number of serious penalties that they must face. One commonly used penalty is probation. An NH DWI offender can be placed on probation for up to 2 years for a misdemeanor conviction. For a felony conviction, the number rises to 5 years. Probation involves the DWI offender being released from jail on the condition that they abide by specific restrictions as established by the court. Common probation terms include:
§ The offender must periodically report to their assigned probation officer.
§ The offender is required to refrain from associating or fraternizing with certain types of people.
§ The offender must maintain gainful employment.
§ Before residences can be changed, the offender must notify their assigned probation officer.
§ The offender is required to refrain from consuming alcohol or using drugs.
Any offender in New Hampshire who is released on probation, regardless of their crime, is monitored by a probation officer. The probation officer periodically checks in with the offender, and it is not uncommon, especially in cases involving DWIs, for an offender to be required to submit to random alcohol and drug tests to ensure that they are complying with the terms of their probation.
If an offender is accused of committing another criminal offense, or fails to comply wholly with the terms of their probation, then he or she can be charged with a probation violation. When a person violates the established terms of their probation, their probation is immediately revoked, and they will be required to make another appearance in a New Hampshire court. The presiding judge will then decide what penalties and sanctions the offender should be subjected to for their probation violation. In many scenarios, judges will choose to terminate the offender’s probation, which means that the offender must immediately report to jail.
There are many ways in which a person can, whether intentionally or unintentionally, violate their probation. Recently, The New York Daily News reported the story of a young woman from Michigan who was determined to have violated her probation because of a careless post she made to Facebook. The 22 year old woman, Colleen Cudney, was, at the time, on probation for a DWI conviction. One of her probation terms required her to refrain from using alcohol or drugs and required her to randomly report to her local police station to receive a Breathalyzer test. In mid-March of this year, Cudney was called in for testing, and the test determined that she did not have alcohol in her system at the time. Upon returning home, Cudney posted the following message on Facebook:
“Buzz killer for me, I had to Breathalyzer (sic) this morning and I drank yesterday but I passed thank god lol my dumba@@,”
Upon noticing the Facebook post, a local police officer notified the Michigan probation office. As a result, Cudney’s assigned probation officer contacted her and ordered her to report to his office to schedule a urine test. Urine tests can determine whether or not a person has consumed alcohol within the last 80 hours. Reportedly, Cudney was uncooperative, and she hung up the phone on her probation officer. She was subsequently arrested for violating the conditions and terms of her probation.
This story, although it did not occur in New Hampshire, serves as a prime example of exactly how serious probation is taken. Even if you believe that your social media pages are well-protected, an offhand or careless remark can result in accusations of violating your probation. Moreover, failing to maintain regular contact with your probation officer as ordered, or refusing to return their calls, can result in a violation.
Even though a probation violation hearing is not a trial, you do retain certain fundamental legal rights. For example, you possess the legal right to see the evidence that serves as the foundation for your alleged probation violation. You maintain the right to have your voice heard, cross examine prosecutorial witnesses, and to call witnesses in your own defense. Of course, you have the right to be represented by legal counsel. Remember that the burden of proof still rests with the state of New Hampshire.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of a probation violation is the fact that you could receive the maximum sentence that originally could have been imposed. For example, let’s say you were convicted of an aggravated DWI and received a sentence of 3.5 to 7 years in a New Hampshire prison. However, this sentence was suspended, and instead, you are ordered to serve probation for 2.5 years. If an NH court determines that you have violated your probation, then the court may decide to impose the original 3.5-7 year term that you were sentenced to.
In order to avoid having to serve probation and the other negative consequences that are associated with a DWI conviction, any New Hampshire motorist who is arrested on the suspicion of driving while intoxicated should contact a skilled and experienced New Hampshire DWI lawyer immediately. An NH DWI attorney from our firm can assist you in fighting the charges leveled against you and avoid the nasty penalties a conviction brings. For a free consultation regarding your case, contact our law firm today. Time is of the essence, so don’t delay.