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N.H. rep found not guilty of DWI, but guilty of lesser related charges

  • Deerfield Rep. James Spillane appears in Hooksett district court on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Spillane, who represents Candia, Deerfield and Nottingham in the State House, was arrested May 4, 2017, and charged with two counts of driving while intoxicated. He also faces open container and yellow line violations. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor file



Monitor staff
Thursday, January 11, 2018

Deerfield state Rep. James Spillane has been found not guilty of driving while intoxicated by a Hooksett circuit court judge, but guilty of open container and yellow line violations. Spillane was also facing a second DWI charge, but it was dismissed during a bench trial on Tuesday.

Spillane was arrested in May in Pembroke after another driver called 911 to report a driver who appeared drunk, swerving in and out of their lane. The arresting police officer testified during the trial that Spillane smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, and failed several field sobriety tests when he was pulled over a little after 11 p.m. on Buck Street. Pembroke police officer Jordan Boisvert also said he found a flask in Spillane’s pants pocket which the lawmaker confessed contained whiskey.

But defense attorney Mark Stevens successfully argued that one of the field sobriety tests should be thrown out. And assistant Merrimack County attorney Casey Stanton wasn’t able to introduce into evidence records of Spillane’s prior convictions, in 2010, for drunk driving and reckless conduct when judge Lucinda Sadler agreed with Stevens that the prosecution hadn’t gone through the basic motions of showing the man on trial was the same one who’d been convicted before.

A sentencing hearing on the two violations has been set for Jan. 23.

The third-term legislator represents Nottingham, Candia and Deerfield, and he sits on the House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee.

(Lola Duffort can be reached at 369-3321 or lduffort@cmonitor.com.)