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I just got arrested for a State of New Hampshire DWI charge. What happens next?

ISSUE ONE:The New Hampshire Implied Consent / Administrative License Suspension (ALS) Proceeding: Under New Hampshire law, any person who drives, operates, or attempts to operate a vehicle shall be deemed to have given consent to physical tests and examinations for the purpose of determining whether such person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled drugs, and to a chemical test of the person’s blood, urine, or breath, for the purpose of determining the controlled drug content of such person s blood or alcohol concentration if arrested for a DWI. The test or tests shall be administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer, peace officer, or authorized agent having reasonable grounds to believe the person to have been driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled drugs or while having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, or in the case of a person under the age of 21, 0.02 or more. This law is referred to as implied consent.

Pursuant to NH implied consent law, your New Hampshire drivers license (or your right to drive in New Hampshire if you re not a New Hampshire licensed driver) was most likely suspended for anywhere from six months to two years for failing or refusing a chemical (breath / blood / urine) test. This suspension typically starts on the 30th day following your arrest. [If you had a valid New Hampshire license at the time of your arrest, you should have been given a temporary permit that allows you to drive for the 30 days following your DUI arrest.]

Read your paperwork carefully. If you act quickly, you can request an administrative hearing (or administrative review) to challenge your proposed suspension. After a timely request, an administrative hearing will be scheduled. This hearing is commonly referred to as an ALS Hearing

Speak to your New Hampshire DWI attorney for more information about contesting your implied consent / administrative license suspension.

ISSUE TWO:The New Hampshire DWI / DUI / OUI Criminal Case: Separate from the administrative license suspension proceeding is the criminal charge either for Driving or Operating Under Influence of Drugs or Liquor; Driving or Operating With Excess Alcohol Concentration (the standard charge) or for Aggravated DWI (the aggravated or enhanced charge).

Under New Hampshire s law, no person shall drive or attempt to drive a vehicle upon any way:

― While such person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any controlled drug, prescription drug, over-the-counter drug, or any other chemical substance, natural or synthetic, which impairs a person’s ability to drive ; or

― While such person has an alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more or in the case of a person under the age of 21, 0.02 percent or more. [Driving with excessive alcohol concentration is sometimes referred to as a per se DUI or per se DWI .]

A person commits the crime of aggravated driving while intoxicated if the person drives or attempts to drive a vehicle upon any way when any of the following apply:

― While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any controlled drug or any combination of intoxicating liquor and controlled drug or drugs and, at the time alleged:

(a) Drives or operates at a speed more than 30 miles per hour in excess of the prima facie limit;

(b) Causes a motor vehicle collision resulting in serious bodily injury to the person or another;

(c) Attempts to elude pursuit by a law enforcement officer by increasing speed, extinguishing headlamps while still in motion, or abandoning a vehicle while being pursued; or

(d) Carries as a passenger a person under the age of 16.

― While having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or, in the case of a person under the age of 21 at the time of the offense, 0.02 or more and, at the time alleged:

(a) Drives or operates at a speed more than 30 miles per hour in excess of the prima facie limit;

(b) Causes a motor vehicle collision resulting in serious bodily injury to the person or another;

(c) Attempts to elude pursuit by a law enforcement officer by increasing speed, extinguishing headlamps while still in motion, or abandoning a vehicle while being pursued; or

(d) Carries as a passenger a person under the age of 16.

― While having an alcohol concentration of 0.16 percent or more.

Important: The implied consent / administrative license suspension proceeding and the criminal DUI / DWI / OUII / Aggravated DWI case are completely separate from one another.

Will my New Hampshire driver license be suspended or revoked?

RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE: Your New Hampshire driver license (or your right to drive in New Hampshire if you do not have a valid New Hampshire license) may be suspended in the administrative license suspension proceeding for failing or for refusing a breath, blood, or urine test for alcohol and / or drugs. For a first offense, the suspension is typically for six months; for a second offense ― two years. Again, you may challenge this proposed suspension in an administrative hearing this revocation if you make a timely hearing request.

RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE: If you are convicted of the DUI / DWI or Aggravated DWI charge. you will also lose your drivers license (or your right to drive in New Hampshire if you don t have a valid New Hampshire license) for from nine months to up to two years for a first offense (though part of the revocation time may be shortened by the court). This revocation is separate and distinct from the administrative license suspension. Talk to your New Hampshire DWI lawyer for possible suspension lengths for your situation.

Also keep in mind that your license can be revoked for a variety of reasons unrelated to a NH DWI arrest.

What happens if I get caught driving while my license is revoked?

Driving while your license is revoked should be avoided as it is a new misdemeanor offense. Penalties include a $1000 fine and at least seven days jail time. You will also lose your right to drive for an additional year. If you re on probation for a DUI / DWI conviction, driving on a suspended or revoked license will also violate your probation.

I really need to drive. Will I be able to get a restricted / limited / occupational / conditional / probationary permit?

Unlike some states, New Hampshire does not offer a restricted license when you re suspended or revoked following a DWI arrest / conviction. However, the court may suspend up to six months of the court ordered revocation provided that you enter into a impaired driver intervention program (I.D.I.P.) in a timely manner.

What is the difference between a DUI, DWI, OWI, OUI etc.

These terms are all acronyms that refer to the offense commonly known as drunk driving. Different states have different names for the crime. For example, in Iowa the acronym OWI (operating while impaired / intoxicated) is used; Oregon uses the term DUII (driving under the influence of an intoxicant). New Hampshire law uses the terms: Driving or Operating Under Influence of Drugs or Liquor and Driving or Operating With Excess Alcohol Concentration and Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated. The acronym DWI is most commonly used here. In this website, the terms DUI and DWI are used interchangeably.

Is a DWI offense in New Hampshire a misdemeanor or felony charge?

In New Hampshire, a DUI / Aggravated DWI is usually a misdemeanor crime. However, an Aggravated DWI involving a motor vehicle collision resulting in serious bodily injury is a felony charge. Also, your fourth or subsequent DUI or aggravated DWI conviction within 10 years is a felony offense.

The court may reduce a first DUI conviction to a violation (a non-criminal offense) upon a motion filed by either party at least one year after the date of the conviction. In deciding whether to reduce the conviction to a violation, the court will generally consider the person s subsequent driving record, any evidence of drug or alcohol treatment, the hardship that having a criminal record may cause for the person, and other factors.

What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of an New Hampshire DUI / Aggravated DWI charge?

Upon conviction of an New Hampshire drunk driving offense, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties including entering and completing an impaired driver intervention program (drug / alcohol treatment and counseling). A range of penalties is set forth below:


NEW HAMPSHIRE DWI PENALTY CHART


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