In the state of New Hampshire, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or above while driving is sufficient to result in DUI charges. The minimum BAC for an underage drinker is just .02 percent and, for a commercial driver, .04 percent. In New Hampshire, you might be able to plea down to the lesser charge of reckless driving, or “wet reckless.”
Implied Consent Law
New Hampshire DUI laws include an implied consent law that requires all drivers to take a breath or blood test if requested to do so by an officer who has probable cause. If you refuse the test, you will be subject to the automatic suspension of your license. For a first refusal, your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 180 days. This increases to two years for subsequent offenses or refusals.
Penalties for DUI in New Hampshire
Unless there are aggravating factors, there is no minimum jail time mandated for a first DUI offense, and the minimum fine is $500, according to New Hampshire DUI laws. In the event of aggravating factors, the minimum is 10 days in jail and a $750 fine. Your driver’s license will be suspended for a period ranging from nine months to two years, and you will have to take a driver’s education program. You may also have to complete a treatment program.
For a second DUI conviction, your sentence will depend on how close it was to the first conviction. If it is more than 10 years later — the “lookback” period — your second conviction will be treated as a first offense for sentencing purposes. If it is within two years of your first conviction, however, you will be subject to a minimum of 30 days in jail. If your last offense was less than 10 years ago but more than two years ago, the minimum jail time is 10 days. In either case, your driver’s license will be suspended for three years, and you will be fined a minimum of $750. You may also have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle or take part in a treatment plan.
In New Hampshire, you can be charged with a class B felony if you cause an accident that results in serious injury while driving intoxicated. Your jail time can stretch up to seven years and your fine can reach $4,000. New Hampshire will also insist that you complete an IDIP, or Impaired Driver Intervention Program, for which you will have to pay. Additionally, you will have to install and pay monthly for an ignition interlock device that will prevent you from starting up your car unless and until you pass a Breathalyzer.
Changes in New Hampshire DUI Laws
In addition to the existing New Hampshire DUI laws, in January of 2013, it became illegal to drive impaired while under the influence of over-the-counter or prescription drugs. This tightened the previous law, which focused only on alcohol and controlled substances.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In New Hampshire?
Drivers in the state of New Hampshire are subject to a legal alcohol limit of .08 percent. Individuals found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above this threshold can be arrested and charged for operating under the influence (OUI).
The legal alcohol limit applies to people of legal drinking age driving passenger cars. Operators of commercial vehicles are subject to a lower BAC limit of .04 percent, and individuals under 21 can be prosecuted for driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent and greater.
Some of the penalties that people found guilty of operating under the influence may face include:
- Fines, fees and surcharges
- Incarceration in jail or prison
- Loss of driving privileges
- Required substance abuse evaluation
- Mandatory attendance in alcohol education courses
The severity of penalties handed out by a court for an OUI conviction can vary widely. Enhanced punishments typically accompany a conviction on aggravated charges when, for instance, a person drove with a BAC of .16 percent or higher, had a minor under age 16 in the vehicle or committed another offense deemed more serious than a standard first-time OUI. Repeat offenders also are subject to greater penalties.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In New Hampshire
People convicted of operating under the influence must install an ignition interlock device (IID) after a license suspension or revocation period. This action is the only means by which to regain driving privileges.
Conditions of New Hampshire’s ignition interlock law include:
- IID installation and monitoring costs are the responsibility of the convicted individual.
- Proof of installation must be provided to the state’s division of motor vehicles
- The required period of use ranges from 12 to 24 months, depending upon the OUI offense.
It’s important for people who install an ignition interlock device to understand that failed tests or evidence of IID tampering can result in additional penalties.
New Hampshire DUI Penalties
Drivers in New Hampshire are subject to arrest if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. You can be convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), even if your driving was not visibly impaired. New Hampshire DWI penalties include a Zero Tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21, who could be subject to arrest with a BAC of .02 percent or higher. Commercial drivers can be removed from the road with a BAC of .02 percent and have their commercial driver’s license (CDL) suspended for one year with a BAC of .04 percent or higher.
You are required to submit to a chemical test in New Hampshire under the state’s implied consent laws. Refusing to submit to a test will result in the automatic suspension of your license for a minimum of 180 days and perhaps as much as two years.
New Hampshire DWI penalties can be harsh. You could face jail time, significant penalties and fines and a license suspension. You could also be required to complete a court-ordered alcohol education and treatment program at your own expense. Additional penalties for a DWI convictions, which will remain on your driving record for 10 years, include being required to file an SR-22 from your insurance carrier with the state for a specified period of time and having to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
Penalties for 1st Offense
The first time you are convicted of DWI in New Hampshire, there is no minimum amount of time you must serve in jail. However, you will pay fines up to $1,000 and your license will be suspended for a period ranging from 90 days to one year. You may also be required to complete an approved alcohol assessment and treatment program. You may be able to arrange a plea bargain to reduce the charge to “wet reckless” or reckless driving, provided you meet the criteria. However, should you be convicted of a second DWI within 10 years, this first charge will be considered a DWI for sentencing purposes.
Penalties for 2nd Offense
You will be required to serve a jail sentence if you are convicted of a second DWI in New Hampshire. If the second conviction occurs within two years of the first, you must spend a minimum of 37 days in jail. If the second conviction comes within the 10 year limit, you must spend at least 10 days in jail. You will also face fines of up to $1,000, and your license will be suspended for up to three years. You will have to file an SR-22, complete a treatment program and install an ignition interlock device in order to reinstate your license.
Penalties for 3rd Offense
While a third DWI offense is still considered a misdemeanor in New Hampshire, the penalties are much stiffer. You will serve up to a year in jail, with 180 days required, and pay fines of up to $2,000. You must complete a longer treatment program, and you will face a five-year suspension of your license. You will be required to install an ignition interlock device and file an SR-22 in order to have your driving privileges reinstated.