What is Administrative License Suspension?
When a person is arrested for suspicion of DWI in New Hampshire, there are several ways that their ability to drive can be affected. One of those ways is through administrative license suspension. Unlike court ordered license suspension which is issued as a penalty when convicted of DWI, administrative license suspension can begin 30 days after the arrest and action must be taken right away in order to stop it.
New Hampshire Administrative License Suspension Laws
According to NH law, section 265-A:30, there are two ways for administrative license suspension to occur after a DWI arrest. They are as follows:
- Per se DWI: Drivers who are arrested after testing over the legal limit for alcohol are accused of what is called per se DWI. For drivers over the age of 21, the legal limit is 0.08 and for underage drivers it is 0.02.
Refusing a sobriety test: A driver who is accused of intoxication may be asked by a law enforcement officer to take a chemical blood, breath or urine test or a field sobriety test. If the driver refuses to take either or both of these tests, they will be in violation of implied consent.
Fighting Administrative License Suspension After DWI Arrest
In order to avoid license suspension, a hearing with the Department of Safety or case review must be requested. If they are successful at this hearing or review, they will avoid license suspension. A DWI suspect must choose between requesting a review or a hearing.
- Review: The suspect submits a written statement and evidence that the department will look at as they review their case. This can be any evidence that the suspect wants shown but should be compelling such as evidence that they were not operating the vehicle, etc.
- Hearing: A hearing will give the DWI suspect to argue on their behalf. They can also request that the arresting officer be present during the hearing. A suspect can have an attorney with them at the hearing, but is not obligated to bring one.
For both the review and the hearing, there are only certain arguments that can be made. For example, having a sick child who needs to go to the doctor is not a valid argument to make in order to fight administrative license suspension. Instead, a suspect must argue against the facts of the case and is limited to the following defenses:
- The police stop that lead to the arrest was unlawful as the officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe the suspect was DWI
- The reasons for the officer's suspicion of DWI were unfounded
- The suspect was never arrested for a crime
- The suspect did not refuse a sobriety test or the results of the test were inaccurate
- The officer did not inform the suspect of their right to take a similar test instead of refusing a test
- The officer did not inform the suspect of the implied consent laws after their refusal
A written request must be submitted within 30 days after arrest. It must state the reason that they suspension should not be placed on them. Drivers who do not request this hearing or review or drivers who are unsuccessful will be subject to immediate license suspension after the 30 day temporary license expires.
License suspension for a per se DWI is as follows:
- First offense: 180 days
- Second offense : 2 years
License suspension for an implied consent violation is as follows:
- First offense: 180 days
- Second offense: 2 years
This period of suspension can be served concurrently with court order license suspension unless it involves implied consent violation. Under 265-A:14 II the suspension “period imposed pursuant to this section shall not run concurrently with any other penalty imposed “.
After the hearing or review, the department will give its ruling within 15 days. This is the final ruling and cannot be appealed. It is important to remember that the results of this hearing will not affect the suspect's criminal trial. A DWI suspect who wins there administrative hearing can still be found guilty of DWI in criminal court.
The NH Admin License Suspension Process
If a DWI suspect refuses a sobriety test or tests over the legal limit for alcohol, the law enforcement officer will file a sworn report of this event. When the report is received, the suspect's license will be administratively suspended. At the time of DWI arrest, the officer will take the suspect's driver's license and issue them a temporary license that is only good for thirty days. This will only be done if the driver has a New Hampshire license. If the license is from another state, that state will be informed of the suspension and may choose to impose it. The license will be submitted along with the officer's report.
If the driver took a sobriety test, such as a blood test, where the results were not immediately available, they will not have their license taken from them. Instead, if the results come back showing they were per se DWI, a letter will be mailed to their home with a temporary license explaining the situation.
Get Help Fighting DWI License Suspension in New Hampshire
If you have been arrested for DWI in New Hampshire after failing a chemical breath, blood or urine test, there is important information that you need to know. You only have 30 days after your arrest to request an administrative hearing with the Department of Safety in order to fight administrative license suspension. In order to make the entire process easy, many people simply hire a DWI attorney. Your attorney will request a hearing right away and take care of preparing your defense. They will make sure that you get your license back as soon as possible.
Attorney Ryan Russman is Board Certified by the ABA-accredited National College for DUI Defense. He is passionate about fighting for his DWI clients and will stop at nothing to get you the results you want. Call our office now to set up a consultation.