In New Hampshire, a person who operates a vehicle while impaired can face charges for either DWI or aggravated DWI. Aggravated DWI charges result in steeper penalties and occur when the driver is under the influence and certain factors exist that make the crime especially reckless. One of those factors is operating with an extremely high blood alcohol concentration or BAC. BAC refers to the amount of alcohol that a person has in their blood within two hours of driving. In New Hampshire, a person can be charged with aggravated DWI relating to high BAC under RSA 265-A:3 if they drive, operate or temp operate an OHRV, a vehicle or a boat “while having an alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more”.
High BAC aggravated DWI is a relatively common charge. Any driver with a BAC of 0.16 will likely be charged with aggravated DWI. That number is twice the legal limit of a normal DWI.
The reason that a DWI offense involving a high BAC often leads to steeper penalties is because, statistically, drivers with high alcohol concentrations are more likely to cause a fatal crashes. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 30% of fatal motor vehicle accidents result from alcohol impaired drivers. Additionally, the data shows that the higher a driver's BAC, the more likely they are to cause an accident. Therefore, New Hampshire lawmakers feel that these drivers should be more harshly punished than other DWI drivers forcing them to be subject to stricter penalties including longer periods of license suspension and installation of ignition interlock devices.
The CDC reports that the highest number of fatal vehicle accidents by alcohol impaired drivers involves drivers with BACs of 0.13 to 0.21. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that in 2009, 56% of drivers involved in alcohol related fatal crashes had a BAC of 0.15 or greater. In New Hampshire, 15% of all fatal accidents involved drivers with the BAC of 0.15 or more.
Anyone facing aggravated DWI charges should contact a New Hampshire DUI lawyer right away.
The penalties for an aggravated DWI conviction can include:
- a fine of at least $1,000
- 14 days in jail
- installation of an ignition interlock device
- license suspension of 18 months to 2 years
- substance abuse evaluation and counseling
- potential random drug or alcohol testing
The best way to avoid these penalties is to fight your charges with an attorney who can help you build a strong defense. At Russman Law, our lawyers will work with you to get the best possible results.