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Durham sees a sharp increase in DWI arrests

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Durham, New Hampshire Sees a Sharp Increase In DWI Arrests

Police officers in Durham, New Hampshire have experienced a sharp increase in the number of driving while intoxicated arrests this year.

As of September 10th, there have been a total of 57 DWI arrests in Durham, which is higher than the total number of DWI arrests made in 2013 and 2014. 2012 saw the highest annual total of arrests of the last three years with 82 motorists being arrested for DWI in town.

Rene Kelly, Deputy Police Chief of Durham, attributes the increase in DWI arrests to police officers exercising increased vigilance in the arena of DWI detection.

The Police Chief of Durham, David Kurz, states that more intoxicated motorists are caught during the summer months because his officers have more time to conduct patrols with University of New Hampshire students on summer break.

In a recent interview, he gave the following statement:

“Right now, officers are going from call to call to call. There is not a lot of time to work the road, where in the summertime … the officers have more time. I’m not surprised to hear (the number) is up a little bit. They are out there working and they are self-generating these arrests.”

An unusually busy summer in Durham is also being cited as a reason for the increased number of arrests.

Kurz believes the multiple ongoing construction projects in Durham could be a contributing factor. With hundreds of contractors temporarily staying in Durham for the summer, the town’s population has considerably increased.

The New Hampshire State Police recently released arrest data that revealed the greatest number of DWI arrests in New Hampshire are for motorists who are under the age of 21. In 2012, 1,149 underage drivers were arrested for DWI. National data from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) shows that the rate of driving while intoxicated is highest among the 21-25 year age group.

MADD’s Director of State Government Affairs, Frank Harris, says that 21-24 year olds are the most prone to driving while intoxicated. He cautions that, in college towns, students who are going to go out drinking should have an established plan for getting home safely.

Harris also notes that an increase in DWI arrests does not necessarily mean there are more intoxicated motorists on the road.

In an interview with Fosters.com, he stated:

“The probability is that law enforcement is out there more and catching more drunk drivers as opposed to more people driving drunk,” he said. “That is why it is so critical to have enforcement efforts, like sobriety checkpoints, to catch people driving drunk. Hopefully, people get the message that if you drive drunk, you are going to get caught.”

University of New Hampshire Police Chief Paul Dean believes that the number of DWI arrests his officers have made over the last three years has remained relatively consistent, but he also says that his department continues to experience ongoing problems with intoxicated drivers. Dean says the majority of DWI arrests are made on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays between the hours of 9 pm and 3 am.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the annual number of alcohol related driving deaths in Strafford County has more than doubled since 2009. However, Durham has only experienced one drunken driving fatality during this time period, which occurred in 2013 on Route 4.

Anyone who plans to go out drinking should plan ahead and have a designated driver to ensure that they can get home safely. Ride sharing programs, like Uber and Lyft, can also be used; however, mistakes do happen. If you have been arrested for a DWI in the State of New Hampshire, then you need to contact an experienced NH DWI lawyer quickly to have your case examined.

You don’t have to become another statistic on New Hampshire’s roadways. Contact our law offices today.

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