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Fine Points of the Law

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Frederick Cronin is challenging the suspension of his New Hampshire driver's license, claiming that his blood-alcohol reading (0.13) was not properly obtained. State law calls for two readings, with the second 20 minutes after the first, and Cronin claims that his second test was administered too soon. During the 20-minute period, he said, he had burped, and state law requires the 20-minute delay to restart following any "vomit[ing], regurgitat[ing] or belch[ing." However, in June, a hearing examiner accepted the ticketing officer's testimony that Cronin never "belch[ed]" but rather emitted only a "dry burp," which the examiner described as air emanating not from the stomach but from closer to the mouth.

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