Administrative License Suspension in New Hampshire
The state of New Hampshire penalizes drunk drivers with both administrative
license suspensions as well as court-imposed
criminal penalties upon conviction.
The administrative suspension process begins at the time of arrest. Drivers
in New Hampshire have given their implied consent to submit to breath,
blood or urine testing. A driver over the age of 21 that submits to such
a test with a resulting alcohol concentration greater than a 0.08 or under
the age of 21 with an alcohol concentration greater than a 0.02, will
suffer an administrative license loss issued by the New Hampshire Department
of Safety of 180 days for a first offense and 2 years for a subsequent
offense. A refusal of such testing will also result in an administrative
license suspension of 180 days for a first offense and 2 years for a subsequent offense.
On the spot, law enforcement will confiscate the New Hampshire driver's
license of a person that submits to a test with these results or refuses
a test. They will hand you a pink form outlining the Administrative License
Suspension process in New Hampshire. This form acts as a temporary privilege
to drive, but it is only valid for 30 days from the time that it is served
or given to the suspect. Within this 30-day period, you have the right
to request a hearing at the Department of Safety in order to contest the
imposition of the administrative license loss. This hearing is separate
and distinct from any court hearings and addresses only the administrative
However, it is an important part of defending a DWI case because the administrative
hearing gives our DWI lawyers an opportunity to negotiate the case and
confront the arresting officer or trooper with questions on the record,
establishing important theories for the defense of the case in court down the road.
Penalties for DWI
Separate from these administrative suspensions, the offense of DWI is a
crime. How long you lose your license for a DUI in New Hampshire depends
on the offense and other aggravating circumstances.
A conviction to a first offense DWI in court results in:
- A license loss of 9 months and up to 2 years
- A high fine
- Required alcohol and/or drug assessment and programming.
Aggravated DWI convictions result in:
- Required jail sentences
- License losses of a minimum of 18 months
- Alcohol and/or drug assessment and programming
Subsequent offense DWI convictions result in:
- Mandatory minimum jail sentences
- Licenses losses of 3 years for a second offense
- Indefinite licenses losses for third and fourth offenses
- High fines
- Serious alcohol and/or drug programming.
These court-imposed penalties are in addition to an administrative suspension.
In cases where there is a refusal to submit to requested breath or blood
testing, the administrative suspension is added on to the court-imposed
sentence. In cases where there is a breath result over the
per se limit, the administrative suspension runs at the same time as the court-imposed
Our DWI defense lawyers understand the relationship between the administrative
suspension process and a charge of DWI in court. They regularly defend
clients in both proceedings, seeking along the way to create opportunities
to responsibly resolve their cases and, at the same time, preparing their
cases for trial. Where trial is necessary, they rely on their experience
as former prosecutors and seasoned criminal defense attorneys to size
up the State's case and establish reasonable doubt.
Reinstating a Revoked or Suspended License
Our DWI lawyers know that their work is not done when a case concludes
in court. They work to educate clients regarding the steps necessary to
reinstate driving privileges, and how they can resolve a license suspension
through the DMV.
New Hampshire DUI convictions result in a required license loss.
Reinstatement of driving privileges requires:
- Proof of successful program completion and any after care obligations
- Payment of a reinstatement fee and an SR-22, which is a form from an insurance
company establishing that the operator's privilege to drive is insured.
These restoration obligations may differ, however, depending on the case.
Drivers under the age of 21 must typically attend a further administrative
hearing in order to reinstate driving privileges after a DWI conviction.
Following reinstatement in New Hampshire, the state issues a probationary
license for a period of five years. This means that a probationary license
holder cannot drive a motor vehicle with breath alcohol concentration
of 0.03% or more. Violation of this restriction results in administrative
license suspension, even without being "under the influence"
of alcohol. Further, the law requires that a probationary license holder
submit to a
breath test and calls for additional administrative suspensions for the failure to
do so regardless of impairment.
Protect Your License by Hiring a NH DWI Attorney
Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. strives to provide the best DWI defense attorneys
in New Hampshire, Southern Maine and Northern Massachusetts. Our DWI defense
team has experience spotting factual and constitutional issues common
to DUI cases. We defend clients week in and week out in administrative
hearings and in court, regularly handle drunk driving and impaired driving
cases and are enormously proud of our track record for success. Our firm
has been recognized in US News & World Report and the New Hampshire
Business Review and members of its criminal defense team have been included in
Super Lawyers® as well as on the Union Leader's "40 Under 40" list.
Contact our firm at your earliest convenience to set up a consultation
appointment with a highly-rated attorney from an
award-winning firm. We have what it takes to fight your charges!