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Navigating The DWI/DUI/OUI Legal Process

From start to finish, the DWI/DUI/OUI process is complex. There are many nuances, and there may be additional steps that arise in cases involving breath test refusal, repeat or aggravated offenses. However, here are some of the key aspects of the process:

Traffic Stop

Police conduct a traffic stop if they have reason to believe that a law has been broken. During the stop, they may ask if you have had anything to drink. While most people answer this question, it is important to be aware that you are not required to do so. Anything you say to the police can and probably will be used against you.

Field Sobriety Tests

If police believe you may be intoxicated, they will ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests. These may include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, standing on one leg and walking heel-to-toe. You are not required to perform these tests.

Blood Alcohol Tests

You may be asked to do a breath or blood test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Implied consent laws require you to perform this test. While you can refuse, you will then be charged with refusal, which comes with its own set of penalties. Refusing does not necessarily protect you from DWI/DUI/OUI charges.


If the police believe that you have been drinking and driving, you will be arrested and charged with drunk driving. You will be given a temporary driver’s license, which will expire after a certain period of time has elapsed. At that point, your driver’s license will be subject to administrative suspension, unless you request a hearing. Be aware that an administrative suspension is not contingent on you being found guilty of drunk driving.

Administrative Hearing

The administrative license hearing is a civil hearing to determine whether or not your license will be suspended. This is separate from the criminal process. However, you do have the right to be represented by an attorney at this hearing, and having one on your side may help you prevent your driver’s license from being suspended.


You may have the opportunity to negotiate a plea bargain. Proceed with care. In order to negotiate a favorable deal, you may need leverage. This is where it becomes important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. A lawyer can investigate everything that has happened so far and look for flaws in the evidence against you. Anything from police mishandling of the traffic stop or blood alcohol tests could be used as leverage to negotiate a better outcome in your drunk driving case.


If negotiating an acceptable outcome is not possible, the next step is trial. We advise you to fight your case to the end. A trial allows you to thoroughly question the arresting office as well as any other witnesses. It also allows you to call your own witnesses. You can even call friends and family who were with you prior to your arrest and can testify that you were not intoxicated. This is your last chance to prove your innocence; we will help you make the most of it. At Howie Law Office, PLLC, our team features time-tested trial lawyers.

Get An Experienced Attorney Involved Early

The earlier in the process you get us involved, the more opportunities we may be able to find to help you fight the DWI/DUI/OUI charges. We have a law office in Salem, New Hampshire, which you can reach at 603-893-8008. We also have offices in Andover and Woburn, Massachusetts, and you can reach either at 978-853-0982. You can also get in touch with any of our offices by email. The initial consultation is free.

Serving New Hampshire & Massachusetts
Since 1992