Suspended jail term for Warren Picard

NASHUA – An assistant county attorney prosecuting the case of local resident Warren Picard said in court last week a suspended jail sentence is “fair and just,” given that Picard had graduated from Nashua Adult Drug Court and continues to seek treatment.

While Picard, 56, “has a very significant criminal history,” Brett Harpster, the prosecutor, told the court, he also appears to be back on the right track by continuing his substance use disorder treatment.

Superior Court Judge Jacalyn Colburn agreed, and accepted the agreement Picard and his lawyer reached with the prosecution on the four offenses with which he was charged in a Merrimack incident in October 2018.

One of the charges – driving while certified as a habitual offender – is a felony. He was also charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and two violation-level counts of misuse of plates and open container.

A fifth charge – obstructing government administration – was not among the charges filed in October, and it’s not clear whether police filed the charge later or in connection with another incident.

Under the plea agreement, Picard pleaded guilty to each of the offenses in exchange for 12 months in jail, all suspended for two years, on the habitual offender charge, and 6 months in jail, all suspended for three years, on the obstructing charge.

If imposed, the sentences would run consecutively, meaning Picard would face up to 18 months behind bars.

Attached to the plea agreement are several conditions, which start with good behavior and include writing a meaningful letter of apology to the two Merrimack police officers who dealt with Picard at the time of the incident.

On the other three charges, Picard agreed to a $500 fine, suspended for two years, and a one-year revocation of his license.

When he does begin driving again, he is required to install an Interlock device in his vehicle and submit to random drug and alcohol tests.

He is also required to perform 40 hours of community service and provide proof to the court.

Attorney Sarah Amorin, a public defender who represented Picard at the hearing, said the Merrimack incident happened at about the same time he was to graduate from Drug Court.

“He got himself treatment, has housing now and is working with Harbor Homes,” Amorin said, referring to the programs the agency offers. “He has a good relationship with his case manager … he intends to keep going,” Amorin added.

Colburn, in brief remarks, reminded Picard of the importance of continuing his treatment, “because when you don’t, that’s when things go south,” she said.

“I’m glad to hear you’re in treatment and doing well.”

The incident that led to the charges began when police received a report of road rage at a residence on Gauthier Road.

Upon arrival, officers found a man, later identified as Picard, “blocking an entrance to a driveway and possibly intoxicated,” police reports stated at the time.

Picard told police he was having mechanical problems with his vehicle, and when he pulled to the side of the road to address the situation, his vehicle struck a car parked in a driveway.

Police “observed signs of alcohol impairment” while talking with Picard, and charged him with driving while intoxicated.

Officers then learned Picard was deemed a habitual offender in 2001 and did not have a valid license. They found an open container of alcohol in Picard’s car, and also discovered the plates on the vehicle he was driving did not match the vehicle, nor were the plates registered in Picard’s name.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.