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DUI Penalties

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New Hampshire DUI Penalties

Retain a New Hampshire DWI Lawyer

The penalties that you face for a DWI in New Hampshire depend on the number of previous offenses you have on your record as well as the circumstances surrounding your case. Prior offenses, high breath or blood results and certain factual circumstances can result in the imposition of jail sentences.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, it is important to retain the services of a New Hampshire DWI lawyer who can help you defend your case.

DWI or DUI charges carry severe penalties, including long term license losses, high fines, court-imposed substance abuse evaluations and treatment, the assessment of points, exposure to habitual offender consequences and onerous reinstatement obligations. There are additional employment as well as personal consequences that often result from a criminal conviction and a license loss. We can help. Our firm has over 30 attorneys, defends DWI cases throughout New Hampshire, Southern Maine and Northern Massachusetts and aggressively defends its cases.

New Hampshire DWI Laws

  • DWI is a Crime: All DWI charges in New Hampshire are classified as crimes, not just traffic violations. This means they can result in harsher penalties than a typical ticket.
  • Blood Alcohol Limits: The legal limit for driving under the influence is 0.08% BAC for drivers over 21. For drivers under 21, the limit is stricter at 0.02% BAC.
  • Penalties Increase with Offenses: Repeat DUI offenses within a ten-year period come with progressively harsher penalties, including increased jail time, longer license suspensions, and steeper fines.
  • First Offense: A first-time DWI is generally a misdemeanor with penalties including fines, license suspension (with possible reduction for program completion), and mandatory alcohol and drug screening/evaluation. There's usually no mandatory jail time unless there are aggravating factors.
  • Aggravated DWI: This can occur with a BAC of .16 or higher, causing an accident while under the influence, or other serious circumstances. Penalties for aggravated DWI are more severe, including mandatory jail time and longer license suspensions.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): In some cases, especially for repeat offenses, the court may require installation of an IID on your vehicle. This device prevents starting the car unless your breath alcohol content is below a set limit.

First Offense DWI in NH

A first-time offense in New Hampshire is a Class B misdemeanor, which is a crime and includes a fine of no less than $500 plus penalty assessment for a total fine of $620. In addition, there is a mandatory license suspension of at least nine months and up to two years. First time offenders must submit to alcohol and drug abuse screening within 14 days of a conviction and, depending on the results of that screening, submit to a further full substance use disorder evaluation within 30 days of conviction. They must also complete the impaired driver education (IDEP) program, which is a 20-hour substance abuse education class as well as any recommended follow up counseling from that class. Six months of the license loss may be reduced based on compliance with and completion of required programming. These court-imposed penalties are in addition to the administrative license loss which is imposed for either refusing a breath, blood or urine test or submitting to one with an alcohol concentration exceeding a 0.08 for drivers over the age of 21 or 0.02 for drivers under the age of 21. With a first offense, there is no jail time required unless there were other aggravating factors.

With years of loyal experience, we can help! Contact our DWI team for a free consultation today online or call us at (888) 801-9916.

2nd Offense DUI New Hampshire

If you are arrested for a DUI and this is your second time, you face an administrative license suspension of two years. You also may face a Class A Misdemeanor charge for DWI Subsequent offense. There are required jail sentences for subsequent offense convictions. For a second conviction within two years of a prior DWI conviction, there is a 60-day jail sentence, but 30 days of this may be suspended based on a full substance abuse evaluation and then compliance with any treatment recommendations. For a second offense occurring within 10 years of a prior DUI conviction, there is a minimum mandatory 17-day jail sentence, but 12 days of this sentence may be suspended based upon a full substance abuse evaluation and then compliance with any treatment recommendations. In addition to these harsh required jail sentences, there is a 3-year court imposed license loss, fine of $750 plus penalty assessment for a total fine of $930, and required installation of an ignition interlock device upon reinstatement of driving privileges.

Third Offense DWI in NH

Third and subsequent offenses continue to increase in severity. A third offense carries an indefinite license loss as well as a mandatory jail sentence of 180 days. However, 150 days of this sentence may be suspended based upon a timely substance use disorder evaluation and completion of any required treatment based on that evaluation. After 5 years, a person may petition the court and then the Department of Safety for reinstatement of driving privileges. In addition to these court-imposed penalties, there is also an administrative license loss of two years. It is important to take charge of your situation and retain the services of a New Hampshire DWI lawyer from our firm.

When is a DWI a Felony in New Hampshire?

Although a DWI is often charged as a misdemeanor in New Hampshire, there are several circumstances where a DWI can become a felony, even for a first offense. A DWI charge can escalate to a felony under specific circumstances:

  • Fourth DWI or more: While the first three DWI convictions are typically treated as misdemeanors, any subsequent DWI offenses, starting from the fourth within a 10-year period, are considered felonies. Penalties for a fourth-time DWI conviction can include fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to 10 years.

  • Serious injury: If a DWI offender is involved in an accident that results in serious injury to another person, the charge can be elevated to aggravated DWI, which is classified as a felony in New Hampshire. Conviction for aggravated DWI, a class B felony, can lead to sentences of 3 1/2 to 7 years in the New Hampshire State Prison, substantial fines, an 18-month minimum license revocation, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender's vehicle.

  • Death: If a DWI offender causes an accident resulting in someone's death, they may face charges of aggravated DWI and negligent homicide, both of which are felony offenses. Negligent homicide, classified as a class A felony, carries penalties of up to 15 years in prison, fines up to $4,000, and an indefinite license suspension. However, in some cases, a suspended license may be reinstated after 7 years.

Can a DWI be Reduced to Reckless Driving?

In New Hampshire, it is possible for a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) to be reduced to reckless driving under certain circumstances. However, this typically depends on the specifics of the case, including factors such as the defendant's prior criminal record, the level of intoxication, any damage or injuries caused, and the skill of the defense attorney.

Prosecutors may sometimes be willing to negotiate a plea bargain in which the DWI charge is reduced to reckless driving, especially if it is a first offense and there are mitigating factors present. This can result in less severe penalties for the defendant, such as reduced fines, shorter license suspension periods, and a lower likelihood of jail time.

However, it's important to note that every case is unique, and the outcome will depend on the specific circumstances and the discretion of the prosecutor and judge involved. It's advisable for anyone facing DWI charges in New Hampshire to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can provide guidance on the best course of action for their situation.

How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Record?

In New Hampshire, a DWI (driving while intoxicated) conviction typically stays on your driving record for 10 years. This means that it will affect your driving record and potentially influence future legal actions or penalties related to driving offenses during that time frame.

However, it's important to note that the impact of a DWI conviction can extend beyond just your driving record. It can also affect other aspects of your life, such as employment opportunities, insurance rates, and personal reputation.

Facing a DUI charge can be overwhelming. Don't navigate the legal system alone. Contact Shaheen & Gordon for a free consultation. We will fight for you.

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