As stated in the New Hampshire DWI laws1, any driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of at least 0.08 is considered intoxicated, and could face DUI charges. Drivers under 21 years of age are not allowed to exceed a BAC level of 0.02.
First DWI Offense2
Any person convicted for exceeding the above-mentioned BAC level will be guilty of a class B misdemeanor. In such cases, the court could issue a fine of at least $500, suspend their driver's license for at least nine months up to two years, and require the completion of an Impaired Driver Intervention Program (IDIP) to reinstate their license.
He will be required to submit to an alcohol and drug abuse screening in an Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP) within 14 days of conviction. If the IDCMP deems necessary, he will be required to submit to a full substance disorder evaluation within 30 days of the conviction and participate in a treatment and recovery plan developed by the IDCMP.
The driver may petition the court to reduce the driving suspension by up to 6 months if they have complied with the screening, evaluation, and recovery plan requirements.
The court may also impose a requirement for an ignition interlock device to be installed on the driver's vehicle during the period of the sentence reduction.
After a year upon the date of conviction, the driver could file a motion to the sentencing court to convert the conviction to a violation. The person's driving record starting from the date of the conviction, the results of alcohol or drug treatment, and any criminal record would be the deciding factors in the success of the motion.
First DWI Offense Under the Age of 21
NH drunk driving laws pose a higher penalty to drivers under 21. The court will suspend the offender's license for at least a year and require further alcohol treatment and counseling.
Second DWI Offense3
In the case of a second offense, NH DWI laws pose a fine of at least $750 dollars with a minimum mandatory imprisonment of at least 60 consecutive days in which 30 days will be suspended, provided that the first conviction was within two years prior to the second incident. The convicted person is required to serve 30 consecutive days in a county correctional facility and must schedule a full substance abuse evaluation with the IDCMP within 30 days of release, complete the substance disorder evaluation within 60 days of release and comply with the recovery plan developed by the IDCMP. If the convicted could prove that his prior conviction occurred for more than 2 years, he could face a shorter jail time of at least 17 consecutive days with 12 days suspended as long as the drug and alcohol evaluation is scheduled within 30 days of his release, and completed within 60 days, while complying with any recovery plan developed.
In addition to the aforementioned penalties, the offender's license will be revoked for a period of at least three years starting from the date of the conviction. The offender will also be required to install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle.
The failure to comply with the order of the court by not completing the program or not undergoing the necessary treatments could result to charges of contempt of court with a minimum imprisonment of 30 days.
Third DWI Offense4
The penalties for the third offense include all of the above mentioned for the second offense. One significant difference would be the longer revocation period of at least five years. After that period, the offender needs to file a petition if he wishes to re-apply for a license. Installation of an ignition interlock system will be mandatory.
Minimum mandatory imprisonment is longer for the third offense. The convicted person has to serve at least 180 days in the House of Corrections (HOC) with 150 days suspended under the condition that the offender schedules a substance abuse screening within 30 days of release and completes the evaluation within 60, while complying with any recovery plan developed by the IDCMP. The costs of the program will have to be paid by the offender. Suspension of the remaining sentence is possible upon a written motion by the convicted person.
Fourth and Subsequent DWI Offense5
All subsequent offense after the third time is classified as a felony under the New Hampshire DWI laws. License suspension is indefinite and re-application is not possible for seven years upon the date of the offender's conviction. All other penalties pertaining to a third DWI offender will apply here as well.
Aggravated DWI Offense6
Under New Hampshire law, an aggravated DWI offense is a class A misdemeanor. The convicted person should expect a fine of at least $750 and a mandatory imprisonment of 17 days, with 12 days suspended under condition that the offender schedule the substance abuse evaluation within 30 days of his release, completes the evaluation within 60 days of his release, and abides by the recovery plan developed by the IDCMP. Should he fail to comply, the suspended sentence will be imposed. The offender's license could be revoked for a period of 18 months up to two years. If there is good cause, the court could suspend the revocation for up to 6 months. Such suspension requires the person to enter the mandatory intervention program as soon as possible and install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle..
DWI Resulting In Injury or Aggravated DWI7
In New Hampshire, a person who causes a motor vehicle accident that results in serious bodily injury while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both, faces very serious consequences. In New Hampshire this is termed: “Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated” (DWI), and it brings serious penalties.
If someone has been charged with aggravated DWI resulting in serious body injury caused by the driver, that person will be deemed guilty of a class B felony. With a first offense, you face a possible loss of your driving privileges for from 18 months to two years and you may have to pay a stiff fine of at least $1,000.
You will face a mandatory sentence of at least 35 days in the county correctional facility. 21 days of your sentence could be suspended under the condition that you schedule a drug and alcohol abuse evaluation with the IDCMP within 30 days of your release and complete the evaluation within 60 days, while following any recovery plan developed by the IDCMP.
In addition, the offender's license will be revoked for between 18 months and two years. The court has the discretion to suspend six months from the sentence if there is good cause and proof that the offender complied with the IDCMP recovery plan as required in the sentence. Installation of an ignition interlock device is mandatory.
DWI Negligent Homicide8
Negligent homicide is the unintentional but careless killing of another person. In New Hampshire, “negligence in the operation of an automobile” comes under “negligent homicide” and is always a felony.
A person found guilty of causing another person's death due to negligent driving will be charged with a Class B felony. The person could have been driving an automobile, a boat, or even an off highway recreational vehicle (OHRV).
It becomes a Class A felony – with even more severe penalties – when the death resulted because the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, either with alcohol, drugs, or both.
In New Hampshire, if you are guilty of a Class B felony, you can be sentenced to up to seven years in jail. For a Class A felony, your jail term can go up to fifteen years.
Your driver's license can be revoked for seven years, or even longer. After that time, you'll have to petition the court for permission to reapply for a license. If you do get permission to apply for a new driver's license, you may then have to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your car for up to five years. Plus, of course, you can be assessed heavy fines.
New Hampshire Law on Commercial Driving While Intoxicated9
Anyone who operates a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC level of 0.04 or greater will face a license suspension for at least a year — three years if transporting hazardous material while intoxicated. The second offense could lead to an indefinite suspension of license or for a period of at least 10 years.
Refusal to Consent10
If a possible offender refuses to submit to the tests as requested by enforcement officers, his license could be suspended for 180 days. If it is the second time he refuses to cooperate, he could lose his license for up to two years. If convicted of a DWI offense, the sentence of refusal needs to be served in addition to any criminal sentence for the drunk-driving offense.