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State v. Maga

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

May 16, 2014

The State of New Hampshire
v.
Bryan Maga

Argued: October 16, 2013.

Page 935

10th Circuit Court -- Salem District Division.

Michael A. Delaney, attorney general ( Nicholas Cort, assistant attorney general, on the brief and orally), for the State.

Mark Stevens, of Salem, on the brief and orally, for the defendant.

BASSETT, J. DALIANIS, C.J, and HICKS, CONBOY, and LYNN, JJ., concurred.

OPINION

Page 936

[166 N.H. 280] Bassett, J.

The defendant, Bryan Maga, appeals his conviction, following a bench trial, for driving with an alcohol concentration of .02 or higher, while he was under the age of twenty-one (DUI). See RSA 265-A:2 (Supp. 2012) (amended 2013). On appeal, he argues that the 10th Circuit Court -- Salem District Division ( Moore, J.) erred when it: (1) admitted into evidence a certificate from a state crime laboratory employee attesting that the breathalyzer machine used by the Salem Police Department was in working order; and (2) ruled that the police had probable cause to arrest him. We affirm.

The following facts are drawn from the record or are otherwise undisputed. On June 15, 2012, the defendant, who was nineteen, was driving in Salem when a police officer stopped him for a defective brake light. When the officer approached the car, he smelled alcohol and observed that the [166 N.H. 281] defendant's eyes were glassy and red. The officer asked the defendant for his license, but the defendant did not produce it. When the officer asked the defendant whether he had consumed any alcohol that evening, the defendant admitted to drinking one beer about thirty minutes prior to the stop. He then agreed to take field sobriety tests.

The officer conducted three field sobriety tests: a horizontal-gaze nystagmus test; a walk-and-turn test; and a one-leg stand test. The officer gave the defendant a score of six on the horizontal-gaze nystagmus test (a score over four suggests impairment), three on the walk-and-turn test (a score of two or more suggests impairment), and one on the one-leg stand test (a score of two or more suggests impairment). Thereafter, the defendant disclosed that he had actually consumed two beers at the home of a friend. Based upon the defendant's statements, his glassy and red eyes, the smell of alcohol emanating from his car, and the results of the field sobriety tests, the officer concluded that the defendant was impaired and took him into custody. After arriving at the police station, a second police officer administered a breathalyzer test, which showed that the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.09.

The defendant was charged with DUI under RSA 265-A:2, in two alternative complaints: one alleging that he drove a motor vehicle while impaired, see RSA 265-A:2, I(a), and the other that he drove a motor vehicle while he had an alcohol concentration in excess of 0.02, and while he was under the age of twenty-one, see RSA 265-A:2, I(b).

Prior to trial, the defendant gave the State notice that he would object to the admission into ...


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