Concord DWI Attorneys
Challenge Your DWI or OUI Charge
Our DWI and criminal defense team stand ready to defend you if you were pulled over, arrested, and charged with drunk driving in Concord or throughout the Capital area. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a Misdemeanor offense in New Hampshire and is also regularly referred to as Operating Under the Influence (OUI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI). 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 your choice to submit to a breath or blood test or refuse to do one. 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's Concord DWI lawyers regularly defend DWI cases in District Courts throughout New Hampshire. We have tried scores of impaired driving cases, litigating Administrative License Suspension hearings along the way. Our lawyers 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, confronting law enforcement.
Call (603) 819-4231 or contact us online right away.
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 that 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 requests 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 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 of a DWI? The potential penalties for a DWI conviction depend on various factors, including your BAC level at the time, 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 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.
As mentioned, the potential penalties for a DWI conviction in New Hampshire worsen each time you are convicted for the same or a similar offense. This escalation of penalties makes it crucial to fight each charge with the help of an experienced DWI defense attorney.
What is Aggravated DWI?
In some situations, a DWI is charged as a more serious aggravated DWI. High speed, causing a crash with a serious bodily injury, fleeing the police, driving with a passenger under 16, or having a BAC greater than 0.16 all may lead to an aggravated DWI charge.
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.
Defense Strategies for DWI Defendants
After a DWI arrest, the prosecution will probably try to coax you into accepting a plea deal. If you take 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.
Three possible defense strategies for a DWI client can include:
- No impairment: We might be able to argue that you were not impaired at all, regardless of your recorded BAC level. If you were not driving dangerously and your BAC level was below 0.08, we may be able to avoid a criminal conviction for DWI.
- Unlaw traffic stop: The police must have good reason to pull someone over. If you were stopped despite driving safely, then the stop itself might be unjust, and, therefore, your arrest and charges may be unjust, too.
- Unreliable BAC result: Collecting a sample for a BAC test – breath or blood – is not a simple process. The sample must be preserved carefully and analyzed correctly. The Department of Safety has issued regulations regarding administering and testing such evidence, and officers often depart from these requirements. A small mistake during the testing process may result in a false result that makes the BAC appear higher than it should be.
Discuss Your Defense Options with Us
Do you think you should have a chance to fight your DWI charge and avoid conviction? We do, too. It is important to stand up for yourself and keep the criminal justice system honest by exploring your options to defend your future from an unjust conviction or overly harsh sentencing. Let’s fight together, starting today.
Dial (603) 819-4231 or contact us for a free case review.