Does NH DWI Law Include Mandatory Jail Time?

Posted by Ryan Russman | Oct 28, 2013 | 0 Comments


Many people have asked whether a conviction for DWI in New Hampshire includes mandatory jail time. The answer depends on the existence of previous DWI convictions and the circumstances of the current DWI charge. Although this articles details some possible situations where jail time may be imposed, it is important to remember that even if the DWI charge carries no jail time, penalties can include fines, suspension of driving privileges, and attendance at an impaired driver intervention program. Additionally, a DWI conviction can have collateral consequences such as increased insurance rates or the stigma of a criminal record.

Aggravated Drunk Driving Arrest

Aggravated DWI convictions require mandatory jail time. Aggravating circumstances include having a blood alcohol level over .16, which is twice the legal limit, or having a blood alcohol level of at least .08 combined with one of the following situations: driving thirty or more miles over the speed limit; being involved in a collision that resulted in serious bodily injury; or attempting to elude law enforcement.

For an aggravated DWI offense where there is no serious bodily injury, there is a mandatory ten days of jail time. At least three consecutive days must be served in county jail. The rest of the days can be served in either a multiple DWI offenders program (MOP) or in a residential intervention program. For aggravated DWI convictions that do involve serious bodily injury, a minimum of twenty-one days incarceration is required. At least fourteen of these days must be served in a county jail and the remaining days in a MOP or residential intervention program.

NH DWI 2nd Offense

If a second DWI offense occurs within two years of the first offense, even if it is not an aggravated offense, a minimum sentence of 37 days in jail is required. Thirty consecutive days must be served in county jail and the other seven in an MOP.

If the first offense took place more than two years prior, the convicted person faces a similar punishment as an aggravated DWI without serious bodily injury. The minimum sentence is ten days incarceration with three of those days served in county jail. For third offenses and beyond, there is a minimum of imprisonment for 180 consecutive days. Thirty of these days must be spent in county jail and twenty-eight in an MOP.

An experienced DWI attorney can help you understand the possible results of a DWI conviction, including minimum jail times and the numerous other consequences that can follow a conviction. Having an attorney at your side during these trying times will assure that you have all the information and assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome given your particular case.

About the Author

Ryan Russman

Attorney Ryan Russman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of New Hampshire citizens. His practice, based in Exeter (Rockingham County) New Hampshire, is limited to cases involving DWI and DUI, other motor vehicle and criminal cases, and many cases involving personal injury. He is, however, best known as one of New Hampshire's leading legal authorities on DWI.


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