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Concord, NH DWI Lawyer

Challenge Your DWI or DUI Charge

If you were pulled over, arrested, and charged with drunk driving in the Concord area, enlisting the support of an experienced defense attorney is critical to protecting your rights, freedom, and future.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is typically a misdemeanor offense in New Hampshire and is also regularly referred to as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Operating Under the Influence (OUI). DWI convictions result in a criminal record, lengthy license loss, fines, and, in more serious cases, mandatory jail time and ignition interlock requirements. There is also an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) issued by the Department of Safety based on whether you submitted to a breath or blood test.

Far too often, those charged plead guilty without fully understanding possible defenses, the interplay between the court-imposed license loss and the Administrative License Suspension, or the downstream points and habitual offender consequences occasioned by an impaired driving conviction. It is wise to consider these issues and others when it comes to criminal defense cases.

Shaheen & Gordon, P.A.’s Concord DWI lawyers regularly defend DWI/DUI cases in District Courts throughout New Hampshire. We have tried scores of impaired driving cases, litigating license suspension hearings along the way. Our Concord, NH DWI attorneys have the experience to test the State's case, negotiate on your behalf, and, where necessary, put their best foot forward on your behalf at trial.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a DWI, the time to act is now. Call (888) 801-9916 or contact us onlineright away to speak with our DWI lawyers in Concord, NH.

How New Hampshire Law Defines Drunk Driving

In New Hampshire, a driver can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) regardless of whether they submit to blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing. For those who elect to submit to the requested testing, the standard value for impairment is a BAC level of 0.08 or greater. However, law enforcement can still pursue a DWI/DUI charge even for results below that level.

Gauging a driver’s BAC is an intricate and controversial process. The police can request that you submit to a BAC test, which can be accomplished through several methods.

New Hampshire law allows law enforcement to elect three ways to test a driver’s blood alcohol concentration level:

  • Breath test
  • Blood test
  • Urine test

We do not typically see urine testing, but law enforcement in New Hampshire regularly request breath or blood testing. Completing a breath test is less intrusive and uses a breathalyzer device known as the Initializer 9000. A blood test is far more intrusive but is becoming more popular among New Hampshire law enforcement because it tends to be more accurate and captures potential drug-based impairment.

Refusing a breath or blood test will result in an Administrative License Suspension of your privilege to drive in New Hampshire, even if you are completely sober. Likewise, submitting to the requested test with a result over 0.08 will also result in an Administrative License Suspension. The suspension is six months for a first offense and two years for a second offense. Our Concord, NH DWI lawyers typically object to the imposition of this suspension, which creates a hearing at the Department of Safety.

Possible Penalties for DWI Convictions

What happens if you are convicted on DWI charges? The potential penalties for a DWI conviction depend on various factors, including your BAC level, various aggravating factual circumstances, and your driving and criminal record. Regardless of the drunk driving charge, our criminal defense team stands ready to apply its trial experience to minimize and avoid certain penalties you face.

Potential penalties for a first-time DWI conviction include:

  • Imprisonment or jail time: Up to 12 months in jail for subsequent and aggravated DWI convictions, but there is no jail time for a first-offense conviction.
  • Fines: Between $500 to $2,000 in fines paid to the state, escalating with subsequent DWI convictions.
  • License loss: Up to 2 years of license suspension on a first conviction, 3-year suspension on a second conviction, and indefinite revocation on a third conviction.

Multiple DWI Charges in New Hampshire

New Hampshire, like all other states in the country, gradually increases penalties for individuals who are convicted of multiple DWIs within a certain period of time. Here, the most significant penalty enhancement repeat DWI offenders face – even for a second offense – is mandatory jail time.

  • Second DWI Offenses in New Hampshire are upgraded to Class A misdemeanors, which include a mandatory minimum jail sentence. Potential penalties include increased fines between $750 to $2,000, a 3-year license suspension, a jail sentence of up to 12 months, and completion of the Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP). The length of a jail sentence depends on the facts of a case. When a second DWI charge occurs within 2 years of a prior DWI conviction, the minimum mandatory jail sentence is 60 nights. However, 30 nights of this required sentence may be suspended, leaving 30 nights to serve in jail. Individuals convicted of a second offense where a prior conviction is between 2 and 10 years old face a minimum sentence of 17 nights in jail of which 5 nights must be served in jail with the remaining 12 suspended.
  • Third DWI Offenses, which means three DWI convictions within 10 years, are punishable by up to $2,000 in fines, indefinite license revocation (restoration is not possible for 5 years), and a minimum 180-day jail sentence, 150 days of which may be suspended, leaving a minimum of 30 days to be served in a county jail. Completion of the Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP) is also required.

Multiple DWI charges put considerable penalties and mandatory jail time on the table, which is why they demand the attention of experienced DWI defense lawyers. At Shaheen & Gordon, our defense team has handled countless cases on behalf of individuals who have been charged with their second, third, and fourth DWIs, and has the insight and resources these cases require.

What is Aggravated DWI?

In some situations, a DWI is charged as a more serious aggravated DWI. This happens when certain aggravating factors are involved. For example, a person can be charged with aggravated DWI when they drove while intoxicated / under the influence with at least one of the following factors:

  • Driving at high speed (30mph over the speed limit)
  • Causes a crash resulting in serious bodily injury
  • Attempts to evade police / flee the scene
  • Carrying a passenger under the age of 16
  • A BAC level of .16 or greater

A first-time aggravated DWI charge is a class A misdemeanor and requires a minimum jail term. However, if the aggravated DWI results in a serious bodily injury, it may be charged as a class B Felony with a potential prison sentence of 3 ½ to 7 years in State Prison.

Defense Strategies for DWI Defendants

After a DWI arrest, the prosecution may attempt to coax you into accepting a plea deal. If you accept a plea deal, you agree to plead guilty or "no contest" in exchange for a negotiated sentence. Sometimes, a plea deal presents real advantages for a DWI defendant, but not always. Before you sign or say anything, you should speak with our Concord DWI defense lawyers about possible strategies that could help your case and your ability to seek the most favorable outcome possible.

Three possible defense strategies for a DWI client can include:

  • No impairment: The State must establish impairment to some degree beyond a reasonable doubt. Our lawyers often challenge the State’s ability to establish impairment by confronting the State’s witnesses regarding performance on Field Sobriety Tests or the accuracy or admissibility of blood and/or breath testing evidence.
  • Unlawful traffic stop: The police must have good reason to pull someone over and expand the scope of that stop to investigate a driver for possible DWI. If you were stopped despite driving safely, it may be possible to challenge the arresting officers’ cause to stop the vehicle in the first place, which may result in suppression of any evidence of impairment collected thereafter.
  • Unreliable BAC result: Collecting a sample for a BAC test – breath or blood – is not a simple process. The sample must be captured, tested, and preserved carefully and correctly. The Department of Safety has issued regulations regarding administering such testing, and officers often depart from these requirements. A small mistake during the testing process may result in inaccurate results.

Discuss Your DWI Defense Options with a Proven Team

If you or someone you love are facing DWI / DUI charges anywhere in Concord or the state of New Hampshire, Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. wants to help.

Comprised of highly respected and experienced defense attorneys, our firm has established a legacy of fighting for defendants in criminal cases and administrative license hearings. We know the courts, the laws, and how to effectively position our clients to fight for the best possible outcomes. Our team handles cases involving all types of DWI charges, including misdemeanors, felonies, and charges involving motor vehicles, boats, or recreational vehicles.

Dial (603) 819-4231 or contact us for a free case review with a Concord, NH DWI lawyer.

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