New Hampshire Juvenile DWI Laws
A DWI conviction in New Hampshire can have serious penalties, especially when you are under the legal drinking age. In an effort to establish good driving habits and to make sure that young people do not abuse alcohol and operate a vehicle, New Hampshire has a lower legal limit for under age drivers when it comes to DWI.
According to RSA 265-A:2, a person under the age of 21 has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.02 or more. This means that anyone who is under the legal drinking age in New Hampshire can be arrested and charged with per se DWI if they operate a vehicle with a small amount of alcohol in their system. Even just one alcoholic drink has been shown to cause a BAC over this level.
In addition, under RSA 265-A:3, a juvenile driver can also be charged with aggravated DWI in New Hampshire if they operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.02 or more and any of the following:
- Speed at 30 mph or more over the limit
- Cause a motor vehicle accident that leads to serious bodily harm
- Elude or attempt to elude law enforcement
- Carry a passenger under the age of 16 Under 21
New Hampshire DWI Sentencing
When a driver who is under 21 is convicted of DWI, they will face all the same penalties as an adult. Some people think that, because a person is under a minor, they will be subject to lighter sentencing. This is not true. In fact, in some cases the sentencing may be more severe. Under RSA 265-A:18, a juvenile DWI offender will be sentenced using the same guidelines as an over 21 offender only juvenile offenders are subject to a minimum of one year of license suspension. This is a higher penalty for underage drivers then for adults.
For example, a first time offense by a driver who is under 21 at the time of arrest can lead to:
- Class B misdemeanor charges
- A fine of at least $500
- Enrollment in the impaired driver care management program
- Impaired driver education
- A minimum of one year of license suspension
In addition to these charges, a person who is under the age of 21 and is convicted of a DWI related crime may be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle that they use on a regular basis. This device must be used until the driver is 18 or for at least one year, whichever is longer. So, if a juvenile driver is convicted of a DWI offense at the age of 18, they could be sentenced to one year of license suspension and will get their license reinstated at the age of 19. Then, if they are also required to install an ignition interlock device, they will need to use it for two years until they are 21 years of age.
Call a New Hampshire Underage DWI Attorney
Don't let a DWI hurt your child's future. If your child has been arrested for juvenile DWI in New Hampshire, contact our office right away. Attorney Russman will work hard for you.