New Hampshire May Allow DWI Offenders to Get Restricted Licenses

Posted by Ryan Russman | Apr 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

First time in DWI offenders could be looking at a way to obtain a limited driver's license. The Concord Monitor reports that the New Hampshire House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would allow some people convicted of driving while intoxicated of to be able to apply for restricted licenses. Currently, New Hampshire does not offer any type of temporary license to drivers convicted of a DWI offense.

Under this new bill, anyone convicted of a first time DWI offense could apply for a limited license after serving 14 days of their license revocation sentence. The license would require them to pay a $50 fee and install an enhanced technology ignition interlock device at their own expense and would only allow them to commute to necessary appointments. With this license, they would be able to use their vehicle to drive to school, work and rehabilitation or medical treatment if needed.

Many other states already allow for DUI offenders to apply for limited licenses. It is a way to still punish offenders without causing them to lose their job or be unable to attend school. Many areas do not offer public transportation leaving offenders with the only option of relying on friends and family. This is often impractical and can lead to unemployment and failing grades. Generally, a person convicted of a DWI crime must serve a certain amount of license suspension before they can apply for a work restricted license.

If order to make sure that drivers obey the restraints of their work restricted license, New Hampshire lawmakers are also requiring that they install an enhanced technology ignition interlock device. This device works in 2 ways. First, the ignition interlock requires drivers to give it a breath sample before starting the engine. The device will read the breath sample and determine whether or not the driver has been consuming alcohol. If the device detects the presence of alcohol, it will not allow the engine start. The enhanced technology will also allow law enforcement to make sure that drivers are only commuting to school, work or to receive medical treatment. It uses a GPS system to map where the vehicle is at all times.

This enhanced technology was questioned by some. Republican representative Mark Warden attempted to amend the bill to remove this clause because it would allow for “full-time surveillance” of vehicles. This could be a concern to some people whose vehicle is used by an entire family because the car would always be subject to the GPS tracking. His objections were ultimately overruled because the bill is completely voluntary and anyone who does not want to be subject to the enhanced technology GPS does not have to apply for the license.

This bill was passed by the House and now must go to the Senate for approval before it can be instated. If approved, it will be a great aid for those charged with a first time DWI who still need a way to get to school or work. A license like this makes sense because offenders are often sentenced to complete drug or alcohol education and should be encouraged to keep their jobs or schooling. All those things require transportation.

About the Author

Ryan Russman

Attorney Ryan Russman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of New Hampshire citizens. His practice, based in Exeter (Rockingham County) New Hampshire, is limited to cases involving DWI and DUI, other motor vehicle and criminal cases, and many cases involving personal injury. He is, however, best known as one of New Hampshire's leading legal authorities on DWI.


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