New Hampshire per se DWI Lawyer

What is Per Se DWI?

One DWI term that is used quite often is per se DWI. Per se is the Latin phrase that means “by itself”. Basically, it means that the amount of alcohol in a driver's system can constitute a crime by itself without any other evidence.

In New Hampshire, per se DWI laws apply only to alcohol related cases. This is because it pertains to the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of a suspect. A person who operates a vehicle with a BAC over the legal limit is guilty of per se DWI. When a suspect takes a sobriety test, the officer is measuring to see how much alcohol they have in their system. Under per se DWI law, the only evidence needed to prove a crime was committed is the fact that the suspect had a blood alcohol concentration that was over the legal limit.

Per se laws are in effect as a way of making it illegal for a driver to operate with a certain amount of alcohol in their system regardless of how it affects that. When a driver is accused of per se DWI whether or not their ability to operate a vehicle was impaired is not put on trial.

New Hampshire Per Se DWI Laws

Over 21 DWI

Under RSA 265-A:2, I(b),  a person who  operates a vehicle and is over the legal drinking age of 21 can be charged with DWI if they have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. This is the legal limit for all states in the U.S. as well. A person who is accused of DWI under this subsection is facing charges of per se DWI. In order to prove per se guilt, the prosecution will only need to show that:

  • The defendant was operating or attempting to operate a vehicle
  • A sobriety test showed that the defendant had an alcohol concentration that was 0.08 or more

Per se Juvenile DWI

Drivers who are under the legal drinking age are subject to stricter DWI laws. According to RSA 265-A:2, I(b), a person under the age of 21 in New Hampshire who operates a vehicle with a BAC of 0.02 or more can be charged with juvenile per se DWI. In order to prove underage per se DWI, three things must be shown:

  • The defendant was under the age of 21
  • The defendant was operating or attempting to operate a vehicle
  • A sobriety test showed that the defendant had an alcohol concentration that was 0.02 or more

Probationary License DWI

If a driver is convicted of DWI in New Hampshire, they will lose their license. When they are eligible to get it reinstated, they will only be given a probationary license for 5 years. This license works just like a regular driver's license only the driver has an alcohol content limit of 0.03 instead of 0.08. This means that a driver with a probationary license will face per se DWI charges if they operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.03 or more.

Fighting Per se DWI in New Hampshire

A person accused of per se DWI may feel that they will be convicted no matter what because the sobriety tests show that they had alcohol concentration over the legal limit. While this is true in some respects, there is still a lot that an experienced attorney can do for someone accused of per se DWI. In some cases sobriety test results can be challenged. Often alcohol BAC levels are tested by a breathalyzer test. These devices can produce inaccurate results if they are not for a variety of reasons. Breath tests must be calibrated correctly and can sometimes produce flawed results depending on when the suspect last had something to eat or drink.

A DWI defense attorney can also work with the prosecution to get charges reduced or dismissed. If the police officer made a mistake or violated the defendant's right at some point during the arrest, the charges could be thrown out. In addition, having an experienced lawyer by their side will help a defendant make informed decisions and handle every step of the process as effectively as possible. For example, an attorney can help make sure their client gets their license back as soon as possible and can even help them request an administrative hearing in order to fight the immediate license suspension is triggered by an arrest.

If you have been accused of per se DWI in New Hampshire, contact our office today. Attorney Ryan Russman is dedicated his clients will work hard to get you the results that you want. Call now for free consultation.