A woman arrested on five drunken driving charges in a matter of a few months will be released from jail next week after she was held for the past month because a local judge found she was a danger to the public.
Marie Collins, 34, appeared in Candia Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon to plead guilty to charges of aggravated driving while intoxicated, breach of bail, and driving with a suspended license.
The charges stem from her State Police arrest in Raymond last October.
Candia Circuit Court Judge David LaFrancois ordered her to spend another five days in jail on the DWI charge and pay nearly $1,300 in fines. Collins was given additional jail time that will remain suspended as long as she stays out of trouble.
Collins, who lived in Raymond until recently when she relocated to Manchester, has been held in preventive detention at the Rockingham County jail since mid-January on a breach of bail charge filed by State Police.
The charge followed her arrest by State Police on Jan. 6 in Danbury on her fifth DWI charge since September.
While her license had been suspended, authorities said Collins continued to drive because the judges in each of her DWI cases released her on bail with certain conditions, including that she not drive and refrain from excessive alcohol use.
Once the breach of bail charge was brought after the fifth DWI charge, a judge in Derry Circuit Court refused to release Collins again.
After the guilty plea in the Raymond case, her license will be revoked for 18 months, but she could get it back in a year if she completes an impaired driver care management program and is evaluated for a substance use disorder program.
Collins must also install an ignition interlock device for a year. The device is a breathalyzer that requires the driver to blow into it before the vehicle can be operated.
According to State Police prosecutor Alex Yiokarinis, Collins was arrested on the string of DWI charges beginning on Sept. 3 in Fremont. She pleaded guilty to that charge Thursday and was fined $620 with her license revoked for nine months.
She was arrested again on a DWI charge on Sept. 13 in Manchester. Police in Manchester arrested her on a third DWI charge on Oct. 5.
Collins has pleaded guilty to one of the Manchester DWI charges while the second was reduced to a reckless operation charge. She was fined $620 and had her license revoked for nine months on the DWI charge. She was also fined $620 on the reckless operation charge with a 60-day loss of license.
Her fourth DWI charge, to which she pleaded guilty on Wednesday, was filed after she was arrested in Raymond on Oct. 11.
The fifth DWI resulted from an arrest on Jan. 6 in Danbury; that case remains unresolved.
Because the DWI charges occurred within a short period of time before any could be resolved through the court system, Yiokarinis said each is considered a first offense. If she had been convicted of at least one of the DWI charges before being arrested on another, he said Collins could have been charged with a subsequent offense, which would likely have resulted in more jail time.
“You are innocent until you are proven guilty or you accept responsibility. It’s rare for someone to have this many pending DUIs so it seems like an extraordinary event that might be a loophole in the law. It’s rare to see it to this degree,” Yiokarinis said.
All of the DWI charges against her were misdemeanors.
“Clearly something went wrong over this short period of time and she’s taking advantage of all the services that she can. I think the state has taken on a rehabilitation type approach to this and she’s 100 percent on board,” defense attorney Daniel Lustenberger said.
The goal, he said, is to get Collins help rather than give her more jail time.