Peterborough DUI / DWI Defense Attorneys
Driving Under the Influence, which is also known as Driving While Impaired (DWI) is a serious offense in New Hampshire. Even a first-time conviction can result in significant fines, programming obligations, and mandatory driver’s license suspension ranging from nine months to two years. If you are convicted of a subsequent or aggravated DUI, you face jail time, longer license losses, higher fines, programming requirements, and ignition interlock requirements. Or example, a second-offense DUI conviction carries a mandatory 3-year license loss.
These consequences in court are in addition to substantial administrative license suspensions imposed by the Department of Safety for refusing to submit to breath/blood testing or agreeing to do so with results exceeding a BRAC of 0.08. Those arrested for impaired driving, are often lulled into resolving their cases without the benefit of an attorney. Our drunk driving defense lawyers have years of experience contesting administrative suspensions, litigating issues relating to breath and blood testing, and trying DUI / DWI cases when necessary. They routinely negotiate DUI cases with local prosecutors to mitigate certain consequences of a DUI conviction or avoid a conviction altogether. When those negotiations reach an impasse, our DUI / DWI lawyers regularly contest administrative hearings and try their cases, often minimizing the length of license losses facing our clients.
We strongly recommend that you discuss your legal options with a Peterborough DUI / DWI defense attorney at Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. We aggressively defend against DUI charges and seek to minimize the impact of an arrest on your life. Our defense team consists of highly experienced attorneys and former prosecutors who understand impaired driving laws, are familiar with local courts and prosecutors, and actively prepare our cases for trial while exploring available opportunities to help you avoid a lengthy driver’s license suspension and, if possible, incarceration.
Don’t leave your future up to chance. Contact Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. right away to discuss your legal options at no cost: (603) 634-9887.
New Hampshire’s DWI/DUI Laws
New Hampshire law treats you as presumptively impaired for purposes of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. It is also illegal for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder to operate a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or above. Underage drivers, i.e., those under the legal drinking age of 21, are considered impaired with a BAC of just 0.02% and can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).
While these BAC levels represent the various legal limits for different types of drivers, New Hampshire law allows law enforcement to arrest someone for “driving under the influence” of any substance—including alcohol, controlled substances, and even prescription or over-the-counter medications—that impairs the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. This means that you could be arrested for and charged with DUI in New Hampshire if the arresting officer believes you were impaired by a natural or synthetic substance, regardless of your BAC and even if you refuse breath or blood testing.
What Are the Penalties for DUI/DWI in New Hampshire?
The penalties for driving while intoxicated or under the influence of an impairing substance vary depending on several factors, including your prior record of impaired driving offenses within the past 10 years.
Below is a general overview of the various penalties for DUI / DWI in New Hampshire:
- First Offense: If you are arrested for a first-time DWI offense, you face penalties in court, including fines ranging from $500 to $1,200, a driver’s license suspension of 9 months to 2 years, and completion of the Impaired Driver Intervention Program. In addition to the court case, you will also typically face an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) issued by the Department of Safety of 6 months for a first offense for either refusing requested breath or blood testing or submitting to testing, which results in a blood or breath alcohol concentration of a 0.08 or more.
- Second Offense: A conviction for a second DUI offense, includes required jail time, higher fines, extensive programming obligations, and an ignition interlock requirement. If the prior offense conviction occurred within 2 years, a second DUI conviction requires 60 days in jail, but where you must serve 30 days. When the prior conviction occurred more than two years prior, but within the last 10 years, a second offense conviction requires 17 nights in jail, but where you must serve 5 of those nights. Any second offense conviction requires a mandatory 3-year license loss, a minimum fine of $750 plus Penalty Assessment for a total of $930, and a requirement to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle registered to you or regularly used by you. Separately, a second offense typically includes a 2-year Administrative License Suspension (ALS) issued by the Department of Safety for either refusing breath or blood testing or submitting to it with results exceeding the per se limits for impairment.
- Third Offense: Being convicted of a third DUI offense in 10 years comes with penalties including 180 days to 1 year in jail, fines of $750 to $2,000, and an indefinite driver’s license revocation.
Any DUI or DWI conviction in New Hampshire requires completion of the Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP). In certain circumstances, completion of the IDCMP program allows you to file a motion, requesting the reduction of 6 months off of the court-imposed license suspension (for a first-time and aggravated offenses). However, you must complete the IDCMP within the required timeframes prior to filing any such motion.
In addition to these criminal penalties, you could also face an administrative driver’s license suspension by the Department of Safety. An administrative suspension can occur when the results of your BAC test exceed the applicable legal limit or if you refuse a BAC test. It is possible to object to the imposition of the Administrative License Suspension, but you must act quickly and usually within 30 days of your arrest.
Aggravated & Felony DUI / DWI in New Hampshire
In addition to past convictions, certain other factors can influence the penalties associated with DUI. These factors are known as “aggravating” factors and may lead to aggravated DUI or felony DUI charges.
Aggravating factors that can influence the penalties for DWI in New Hampshire include:
- Whether the driver allegedly caused an accident that resulted in bodily injury or death, even if the driver was the only one injured
- How fast the driver was allegedly traveling (e.g., driving at or above 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit)
- Having a passenger in the vehicle who is under the age of 16 when the driver is pulled over on suspicion of DUI
- Leaving the scene of an accident (regardless of who caused the accident) and/or attempting to evade the police
- Operating a motor vehicle with a BAC over 0.16%
An Aggravated DUI / DWI may be charged as either a Felony or Class A Misdemeanor, depending on circumstances. Impaired driving cases that result in an accident with serious bodily injury are typically charged as Felonies with exposure to prison time. Other Aggravated DUI cases are charged as Class A Misdemeanors with exposure to up to 12 months in jail and mandatory minimum jail terms of 17 nights, but where you must serve 5 nights. There is a minimum license loss of 18 months and a minimum fine of $750 plus a Penalty Assessment for a total of $930. The Impaired Driving Care Management Program (IDCMP) is required for any Aggravated DUI conviction. Further, the Court requires the installation of an ignition interlock device for any such conviction.
Any DUI arrest in New Hampshire is serious, but an arrest for Aggravated DWI can land you in jail and reshape your future. We urge you to contact our Peterborough DWI defense attorneys right away if you or someone you love is facing aggravated or felony DWI charges.
Objection to an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) After a DUI Arrest
Typically, a refusal to submit to breath or blood testing or submitting to such a test with a blood or breath alcohol result over a 0.08, will result in an Administrative License Suspension (ALS), which is separate from any court-imposed penalties following a DUI / DWI conviction. An ALS suspension is 6 months long in the case of a first-offense impaired driving allegation. However, the ALS suspension is 2 years long when there is a prior DUI conviction on your record in the last 10 years or where you have either submitted to a breath test with an alcohol result over a 0.08 or refused such testing in the past, resulting in a prior Administrative License Suspension. You must act quickly to object to the imposition of an Administrative License Suspension following your arrest. Typically, you have just 30 days after your arrest to request a hearing before the Department of Safety. Our attorneys can help you take quick action to protect your driving privileges. We can also help you prepare for your administrative hearing by gathering critical evidence and evaluating various defenses specific to your case.
If your DUI / DWI case results in a conviction in court, you must take specific steps to reinstate your privilege to drive with the Department of Safety prior to operating a motor vehicle. Prior to reinstatement, you must supply proof of IDCMP program completion, an SR-22, which is a form from your insurance company, and a $100 reinstatement fee to the Office of Financial Responsibility. Following subsequent offense or aggravated offense DUI convictions, you must also supply proof that you have installed an Ignition Interlock Device into any vehicle registered to you and regularly operated by you.
How the DUI/DWI Defense Attorneys at Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. Can Help
Being arrested for DUI is serious, and you must act quickly to protect your rights, your driving privileges, and your future. A conviction can not only result in driver’s license suspension, fines, and even incarceration, but can also lead to significant social, occupational, and reputational repercussions in your life.
At Shaheen & Gordon, P.A., we fight tirelessly for our clients. Our Peterborough DUI defense attorneys understand the gravity of your situation and are prepared to aggressively advocate for you. We explore every avenue when it comes to protecting our clients’ best interests, and we use every tool at our disposal to seek the best possible outcome in each case.
To learn more, including how our team can assist you with your DUI defense, call (603) 634-9887 or contact us online. Your initial consultation is completely free and confidential.
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