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  • DUI & DWI in New Hampshire

    Arrested for a DUI or DWI?

    Get a Free Court Case Consultation from a Local New Hampshire DUI Attorney:

    Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious traffic violation. The New Hampshire Department of Safety (DOS), Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and all law enforcement stress the problem by issuing severe consequences for DWI.

    The tests used to assess your DWI condition may be different but the consequences and disciplinary procedures are the same.

    Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is important to consider, as well as how you feel and when you decide to drive. Some people will tell you they don't drive if they have had just one drink. Alcohol is a substance that affects everyone differently; but you can be sure that we all suffer when it comes to our reaction time, alertness, and defensive driving skills.

    Being convicted for DWI in New Hampshire doesn't mean you'll never have a driver's license again. Like all traffic violations the DMV Point System plays a role in what happens to your license. Other factors relating to your arrest will influence your case as well as your driving record.

    DWI Defined

    When you are stopped by a police officer or state trooper, they will tell you why they pulled you over. If you are being assessed for DWI (either roadside or back at the police station) they will offer you the sobriety tests, which include:

    • Breathalyzer
    • Blood test
    • Urine test
    • Balance tests

    When you accepted a New Hampshire driver's license you became subject to implied consent. This concept means that you already agree to take the sobriety tests. But don't worry, you still have the right to refuse the tests, even under the implied consent rule―you'll just automatically lose your license for 180 days.

    Assuming you've taken and failed the sobriety tests, the officer will use the results to charge you with DWI. If your BAC is over 0.08% then you have surpassed the legal limit for driving. However, if your BAC is under 0.08% the officer can still arrest you for DWI if he or she believes your driving skills are influenced. The officer might think your driving skills are affected if you are:

    • Driving too slow or too fast
    • Running over the curb
    • Straddling lanes
    • Passing improperly
    • Starting with a jerk

    The rules for commercial drivers are more aggressive because the responsibility and risk when driving a big rig are usually greater than a regular Class D car, truck, or SUV. You should be very familiar with the FMCSA Rules regarding alcohol and commercial drivers.

    As a commercial driver you can expect any trooper, DOT official, or police officer to be very upset if you have any alcohol in your blood. In fact, if you have a BAC of 0.04% or over you will be charged with a traffic violation.

    Though you have to be 21 years old to purchase or transport alcohol, some drivers are arrested for DWI who are not over 21 years old. The BAC rule for drivers under 21 years old is not 0.08% but 0.02%.

    Driving under the influence of drugs may not be as easily detected because there is no alcohol to be measured on your breath. However, the urine or blood test can be used to detect drug levels.

    When you think about drugs and driving you need to consider over the counter medications or prescribed drugs that might influence your driving skills. Some cold medications, antidepressants, and other drugs will make you sleepy and decrease your reaction times.

    Be conscious of what you are taking and make sure to read the warnings. Many drugs can hamper your safe driving habits; don't just think of illegal substances like marijuana or cocaine.

    License Suspension, Fines, and Consequences

    While the courts have their own penalties for driving under the influence or while intoxicated, the DMV also has penalties. Any penalties by the court will be in addition to penalties by the DMV. Penalties will vary depending on whether you are convicted by a court.

    The Division of Motor Vehicles penalties may include:

    Administrative Penalties

    DWI 1st and 2nd offense
    • Driver's license revocation: 90 days to 2 years.
    • SR 22 filing for 3 years.
    • Driver's license reinstatement fee: $100 (youth operator license $50)
    • 2nd offense may require a Impaired Driver Care Management Programs (IDCMP)*
    • 2nd offense registration may be revoked.
    • Installation of an ignition interlock device.
    Driving under the Influence of Drugs 1st and 2nd offense
    • Driver's license revocation: 90 days to 2 years.
    • SR 22 filing for 3 years.
    • Driver's license reinstatement fee: $100 (youth operator license $50)
    • 2nd offense may require a Impaired Driver Care Management Programs (IDCMP)*
    • 2nd offense registration may be revoked.
    • Installation of an ignition interlock device.
    Transporting Alcoholic Beverages 1st and 2nd offense
    • Driver's license revocation:
      • 60 days.(1st offense)
      • 1 year (2nd and subsequent offense)
    • SR 22 filing for 3 years.
    • Driver's license reinstatement fee: $100 (youth operator license $50)
    • 2nd offense may require a Impaired Driver Care Management Programs (IDCMP) *
    • 2nd offense registration may be revoked.
    • Installation of an ignition interlock device.
    Administrative penalties are in addition to any finding or punishment by the courts for a guilty charge of DWI. If sentenced to attend an Impaired Driver Care Management Programs (IDCMP); you will be responsible for all fees associated with the program.

    Subsequent offenses mean even higher penalties by the courts and the DMV.

    Appeals and Hearings

    You always have the right to a hearing from the Bureau of Hearings. Applying for an appeal is a process that takes some time and because the Vehicle Code can be complicated you may want to hire an attorney. There are many good lawyers who specialize in DWI cases.

    Drivers License Reinstatement

    After the suspension period has passed, you've met all the requirements by the courts and for auto insurance and alcohol treatment, you can apply for reinstatement of your license.

    The reinstatement procedure is the same as other DMV Point System violations; unless, of course, you are classified as a Habitual Offender. The Bureau of Financial Responsibility will help you get your through the reinstatement process.

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