Many people associate convicted felons with murderers, child molesters, scam artists, drug dealers and other nefarious characters. But a lapse in judgment by anyone can suddenly result in an NH DWI felony arrest if you drive after drinking and cause an accident that seriously injures someone.
DWIs can happen to anyone. Most adults (and an alarming number of minors as well) do drink alcohol; sadly, many do not take any special precautions if they plan to operate a motor vehicle after a few drinks.
Who has not thought they could safely drive home without any consequences after having had enough drinks to feel its inebriating effects? While some individuals will defer and allow someone else to drive, there will be those who choose otherwise.
The consequences of a DWI in New Hampshire are very serious, even for first time offenders who are stopped for speeding, weaving, or violating some other traffic law. For second-time offenders, the penalties increase with stiffer fines, longer license revocation time, and mandatory imprisonment.
However, if you do cause a serious injury accident and are found to be under the influence of alcohol or a drug, the implications can be devastating to you.
In New Hampshire, you can be charged with Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated resulting in bodily injury, a class B felony, which carries mandatory jail time and other significant penalties and ramifications.
New Hampshire Felony DWI Penalties
If you are convicted of a felony DUI, you will serve time in jail. If this is your first offense, you face a minimum of 21 consecutive days in jail up to a maximum of 7 years. Your initial 14 days will be served in a county correctional facility and the remaining 7 days in a MOP, or multiple offender program, at a cost from $1,000 to $2,000.
Because your offense is a class B felony, the court could impose a jail sentence of up to 7 years. This will depend upon the circumstances of your case including your driving conduct, blood alcohol level, the injuries sustained by the victim or victims, and if you have a prior criminal record.
The fine for a felony DUI conviction in New Hampshire is at least $1,000 and can be as high as $4,000. You also must pay a 20-percent penalty assessment.
You will lose your license for from 18 months to 2 years, and be required to attend a 24-hour Impaired Driver Intervention Program (IDIP), also at your cost. You could have your revocation period reduced by six months if you show good cause and proof of attendance in an intervention program.
Depending upon your individual circumstances, the court could also require you to attend and complete a drug or alcohol treatment program.
Further, upon reinstatement of your driver's license, you will have to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle registered or used by you at a cost of about $100 per month for between 12 months and 2 years.
To start the car, you will have blow into a handheld device that will not allow the car to start if your blood alcohol (BAC) is measured at 0.02 percent or higher. Depending on your body weight, this is slightly more than one beer consumed over a one-hour period.
Should your BAC be over 0.02 at any time, this will be recorded and made available to the authorities, who could revoke your license.
PENALTIES FOR AGGRAVATED DUI RESULTING IN SERIOUS BODILY INJURY
Fines and Costs
Incarceration and Treatment
Ignition Interlock Device
$1,000 to $4,000 and 20% penalty assessment
Minimum of 21 consecutive days up to 7 years
18 months to 2 years
Device to be installed in all vehicles registered to and used by offender for 12 months to 2 years
MOP-$1,000 to $2,000
First 14 days in county correctional facility and 7 days in MOP
24-hour Impaired Driver Intervention Program (IDIP)
Required to blow into device to detect BAC. Will not start if at 0.02 percent or higher
Possible additional alcohol or drug treatment program
24-hour Impaired Driver Intervention Program (IDIP)
Any BAC recordings above 0.02 percent is made available to authorities with possible license revocation
Ignition interlock device at $100 per month for 12 to 24 months
Collateral Consequences of a Felony DUI
Having a criminal record can present a variety of obstacles to you, especially if the conviction is a felony. You can be rejected for a student loan or have trouble obtaining any other type of credit.
Most landlords conduct background checks on potential renters, so your rental application will undoubtedly be turned down if you have a felony conviction. Background checks are also routinely conducted by employers who will weed out any convicted felons. If you are up for a promotion, your employer could also ask for a criminal background check.
Filling out an application for employment in the public sector will require that you disclose your felony DUI, or you risk a perjury charge.
If you have a professional license or are applying for one, in many circumstances a felony can prevent you from obtaining one or result in loss of your professional status.
Further, your auto insurance premiums will increase dramatically to several thousand dollars per year. The DMV will require that you provide proof of insurance before it will reinstate your license after your revocation period has elapsed.
Retain NH DUI Attorney Russman
A felony DUI is the most serious DWI criminal charge; you should not trust your defense to an inexperienced criminal defense lawyer. Only a highly competent legal professional can explore all the possible defenses available to you.
Ryan Russman is an NH DUI attorney who is recognized statewide for his defense prowess in DWI cases. He has written The DWI Book for consumers to use as a guide for protecting their rights; and the New Hampshire DWI Defense, written specifically for attorneys practicing DWI defense.
Attorney Russman is Board Certified in DWI Defense Law by the ABA-accredited National College for DUI Defense. In addition, he has also been named a New Hampshire Super Lawyer. Trust your case to someone who knows what it takes to vigorously defend you against a felony DUI charge.
Contact Ryan Russman now for a free, confidential consultation.