Points System in New Hampshire

Assessment of Points: Suspensions

Our motor vehicle attorneys know full well that it is not enough to simply defend motor vehicle cases in court. Effective and prepared representation requires analyzing all the consequences of a motor vehicle conviction following either a plea or a trial. New Hampshire has established a system assessing points for certain motor vehicle offenses. The accumulation of points may lead to further license losses. Understanding the impact of a points assessment is a critical component when advising our clients regarding the outcome of a motor vehicle case.

Where a potential conviction may result in a points suspension, we adjust our advice, blend our points analysis into our negotiations with police and prosecutors and, in certain circumstances, recommend trying the case. We apply this process when defending motor vehicle cases no matter how serious the allegation.

From major offenses such as DWI, Reckless Operation, Operation After Suspension and Disobeying a Police Officer to minor offenses such as speed and failure to use a turn signal, we take the time to assess the collateral impact that the accumulation of points may have on our clients’ privilege to drive and make recommendations accordingly.

Understanding New Hampshire’s point system is the first step in this process. A driver 21 years old and older will suffer a 3 month license loss for accumulating 12 points on one calendar year, a 6 month license loss for 18 points in two calendar years and up to one year license suspension for 24 points in three calendar years. The consequences are greater for younger drivers. A driver between the ages of 18 – 20 years old may suffer a 3 month suspension for accumulating 9 points in one calendar year, a 6 month suspension for 15 points in two calendar years and a 1 year suspension for 21 points in three calendar years. Drivers under 18 years old will suffer a license loss up to 3 months for 6 points in one calendar year, up to a 6 month suspension for 12 points in two calendar years and up to a year suspension for 18 points in three calendar years.

The New Hampshire Department of Safety assess points differently for different offenses — the greater the offense the greater the accumulation of points. It imposes 6 points for serious motor vehicle offenses, including: driving while under the influence of drugs or liquor, driving a motor vehicle while in possession of drugs, reckless driving, disobeying a police officer, conduct after an accident and driving after revocation or suspension as well as a myriad of other motor vehicle offenses.

The State imposes four points for convictions for failure to drive on the right hand side of the road, a yellow line violation, negligent driving and speeding where the conviction is for speeding of 25 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit among several other offenses. It assesses three demerit points for disobedience to any required traffic control device, following too closely, failing to signal and speeding when the conviction is for speeding under 25 miles per hour above the posted speed limit as well as several other offenses. Less serious motor vehicle violations may result in one or two demerit points, depending on the nature of the offense.

There are mechanisms in place to subtract points and, in some instances, avoid license suspensions based on the accumulation of points. The State offers a 6 hour defensive driving/attitude course through the New Hampshire Traffic Safety Institute in order to subtract 3 points from a point assessment total. Where such a course is completed, the points will remain on a driving record, but do not count toward license suspension.

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