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Who Is Considered a Habitual DWI Offender?

New Hampshire is one of the strictest states when it comes to repeat DWI offenders. In fact, New Hampshire license suspensions are among the most severe in the nation, even implementing mandatory jail time. Because the consequences of being labeled a "habitual offender" are severe, it is incredibly important that your attorney understands the statutes. Shaheen & Gordon's New Hampshire DWI lawyers have extensive experience dealing with driving while intoxicated cases and can fight to help you avoid habitual offender status.

Who exactly is considered a habitual offender? Is everyone who is arrested for their second or subsequent DWI given this title? New Hampshire has a five-year look back period when it comes to motor vehicle offenses that involve drugs or alcohol. The following circumstances, should they take place within a five-year time span, could warrant habitual offender status:

  • Three severe moving violations, or;
  • Two severe and four minor, or;
  • One severe and eight minor, or;
  • 12 severe violations.

Here, it is important to note the distinction between severe/major motor vehicle offenses and minor ones. New Hampshire has categorized them as follows:

Major Offenses:

  • Any DWI offense
  • Reckless Driving
  • Negligent Driving
  • Operating a motor vehicle while license suspended
  • Disobeying the orders of a police officer

Minor Offenses:

  • Driving without a license
  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield, and offenses of a similar nature.

Once a person is labeled as a habitual offender, then they face the penalty of prolonged driver's license suspension. Habitual offender status is handled by the New Hampshire Department of Safety (DPS). DPS will notify an individual after their qualifying subsequent offense to say that there is an opportunity to dispute the habitual offender status. If the individual so chooses, they can contest this status with DPS. While it is not necessary to hire an attorney at this point, it can be exceedingly helpful.

Whether you are trying to get your driving privileges restored or attempting to appeal habitual offender status, Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. can guide you through the process so that you can see the best possible outcome for your case. We understand that being labeled a habitual offender can be tremendously difficult. New Hampshire is one of the few states that does not allow an individual to petition for a hardship license or some other type of restricted license. This leaves the person with few options when it comes to getting from point A to point B. Not only can this be inconvenient, it can also be costly when you factor in the cost of public transportation. If you would like to learn more about habitual offender status in New Hampshire and how our DWI attorneys may be able to assist, please contact our firm today.