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
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.