New Hampshire DWI FAQs

What is per se DWI?

Per se DWI you a term used to describe the offense of having a blood alcohol content that is over the legal limit. Under New Hampshire law, a person who operates a vehicle with an alcohol concentration over the limit can be charged with a DWI crime. The legal limits in the state are as follows: Drivers over the age of 21 – 0.08 Drivers under the age of 21 – 0.02 Drivers with commercial of commercial vehicles – 0.04 No other evidence is needed to charge per se DWI except the results of a sobriety test showing that the defendant's alcohol concentration was over the limit.

Will I lose my license?

There are several ways that a DWI arrest can affect a person's driver's license. A driver who refuses to take a field or chemical sobriety test will be in violation of implied consent and will be penalized with license suspension of up to 2 years. Per RSA 265-A:30, drivers who are charged with per se DWI will also experience administrative license suspension for 6 months to 2 years. In addition, anyone convicted of a DWI crime in New Hampshire will be sentenced to license suspension of 9 months to 2 years. Administrative license suspension can sometimes be fought in an administrative hearing and offenders can install interlock devices in their cars in order to get their licenses reinstated sooner.

Will I go to jail?

For many people, a DWI charge is the first time in trouble with the law. Because of this, most people fear that they will be forced to serve time in jail. In New Hampshire, a first time offender will generally not have to serve any time in jail. However, according to RSA 265-A:18, a repeat offender can be sentenced to 17 days to 150 days in a house of corrections. Though, a DWI attorney can sometimes help get the majority of the sentence suspended, meaning the offender can serve it as probation instead of jail time, most repeat offenders will always have to serve at least a few days in jail.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device, or IID, is a small device that is installed in the driver's side of a vehicle. It requires the driver to give a breath sample before starting the engine. The device will read the breath sample and determine whether there the driver has been drinking. If the device reads an alcohol concentration over the limit, it will not allow the engine to be start. Under New Hampshire law RSA 265-A: 36, a person that loses their license for a DWI conviction can choose to install one of these devices in order to get their license reinstated sooner.

Will potential employers be able to see my DWI?

When a person is convicted of a DWI in New Hampshire, the conviction goes on their criminal record. Schools, businesses and even rental companies look at this criminal record when performing a background check. This only occurs if a person is convicted of DWI. If charges are filed but the defendant is found not guilty or charges are dismissed, no offense will be recorded. Though a DWI is one of the least serious criminal convictions a person can have, it may still be viewed in a negative light. In order to remove a DWI conviction from a criminal record, a person can attempt to have it expunged. To obtain an expungement, a DWI lawyer must apply for one and will then have to argue why it should be granted at an expungement hearing. This will not permanently remove the conviction but will allow it to be hidden from background checks.

What is a BAC?

BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Concentration or Blood Alcohol Content. This refers to the amount of alcohol found in a person's blood. Measuring BAC is how law enforcement can determine whether or not a suspect is per se DWI. New Hampshire law sets BAC legal limits as a way of delineating how much alcohol can be consumed before a driver is impaired.

How accurate are sobriety tests?

The accuracy of tests used to determine a driver's sobriety is often debated. While some research shows that blood, breath and urine test are quite accurate at measuring alcohol or drug intoxication, there are many factors that have been proven to impact results, even a little bit. The job of a DWI attorney is to look at the circumstances surrounding an arrest and determine whether any outside factors could have affected a sobriety test. Breath tests, for example, must be calibrated correctly and performed by a certified officer. If you think the results of your sobriety test were inaccurate, speak with an attorney right away.

Should I just plead guilty?

Many people charged with DWI do not take the charges seriously. They feel that pleading guilty will be the easiest way to get the process over with. Most attorneys will advise that this is not always a good idea. When a person pleads guilty, they are essentially admitting guilt and leaving the judge open to grant them with the maximum sentence. Pleading not guilty will allow a defendant to discover what evidence the prosecution has against them and how solid their charges are. In some cases, the evidence may be very weak and worth fighting in court. The best course of action, when facing any type of DWI charge, is to contact an experienced attorney to help you make the most informed decisions.

Do I need a DWI lawyer?

Anyone who is facing a charge of DWI in New Hampshire should speak to a lawyer. Most attorneys offer free consultations so it will not cost them anything to find out more about fighting their case. When it comes to any type of criminal charge, it is important to make informed decisions. A lawyer will be able to help you get the best results possible by using their experience to guide you through the process.