DWI FAQ

Answers from New Hampshire DWI Lawyers

If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), you likely have questions, especially if this is your first offense. The New Hampshire DWI attorneys at Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. have provided the following answers to some of the most common questions about this type of criminal charge. DWIs can warrant both criminal and administrative penalties.

If you have more questions than are answered here, please do not hesitate to call a New Hampshire DWI lawyer at our firm directly.

What is the penalty for refusing a chemical test?
If this is your first offense and you have no prior DWI convictions on your record, then you will face driver's license revocation for 180 days. If you have any prior DWI chemical test refusals on your record, or you have been convicted of driving while intoxicated before, then you can face two years' revocation.

I was arrested for DWI with drugs. How long could my license be revoked for this?
According to the New Hampshire Department of Safety, a first DWI and drugs offense is punishable by 90 days to 2 years' revocation. On a second or subsequent offense, the revocation periods will be the same.

Who is considered a habitual DWI offender?
According to the New Hampshire Department of Safety,

Habitual offenders have very poor driving records and certification is based on a 5 "rolling year" (not a calendar year) period based upon date of violation resulting in conviction. Any combination of 12 violations for speeding, crossing a solid yellow line, operating without a valid license contrary to RSA 263:1 and operating without proof of insurance within this five (5) year period will result in certification.
Three (3) "major" convictions within this same time period will result in certification. The most common "major" convictions are: driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, disobeying a police officer contrary to RSA 265:4, operating with a suspended or revoked license, taking a motor vehicle without the owner's consent, negligent homicide involving a motor vehicle, and manslaughter involving a motor vehicle.
In addition, some one can become a habitual offender by "mixing and matching" One (1) "major" conviction with any combination of eight (8) convictions for speeding, crossing the solid yellow line, operating without a valid license and/or operating without proof of insurance. Two (2) "major" convictions and any combination of four (4) of the foregoing will also result in certification as a habitual offender. For more information, please read RSA 259:39 and RSA 262:19-24.

If my license is suspended for DWI, how can I get it back?
You can only petition to get your license restored to you after you have fulfilled the entire period of your mandated suspension for your DWI conviction. You must also provide proof that you meet the SR-22 insurance filing requirements. The third and final requirement before you can get your license back is to complete an IDIP, WIDIP or an MOP program. These are all impaired driver programs. Locations include Manchester, Dover, Berlin, Epping and Keene.

How can I find out how many demerit points I will receive for my DWI?
The New Hampshire Department of Safety's Division of Motor Vehicles lists how many demerit points any given traffic offense will warrant. According to the statutes:

  • 265-A:3 "Aggravated DWI" will warrant 6 points
  • 265-A:2 "DWI" will warrant 6 points

In New Hampshire, there are three separate categories for suspension in the demerit program: under 18 drivers, under 21 drivers and over 21 drivers. If you are under the age of 18, 6 points will warrant a 3 month suspension, 12 points will warrant a 6 month suspension and 18 points will warrant a 1 year suspension. If you are under the age of 21, nine points within one years' time will warrant a 3 month suspension, 15 points within two years will warrant a 6 month suspension and 21 points within 3 years will warrant a 1 year suspension. If you are over the age of 21, 12 points within one year will warrant a 3 month suspension, 18 points within two years will warrant a 6 month suspension and 24 points in three years will warrant a 1 year suspension.

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