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What Happens When You Get a DUI in New Hampshire

Driving while under the influence is extremely dangerous, and comes with several serious consequences. In New Hampshire, you can be arrested for DUI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher, or under the age of 21, .02 or more. You can also be arrested for DWI/DUI for being under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any controlled drug, prescription drug, over the counter drug, or any other chemical substance, natural or synthetic, which impairs a person’s ability to drive or any combination of intoxicating liquor and controlled drugs, prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, or any other chemical substances, natural or synthetic, which impair your ability to drive. Navigating the legal process after being charged with a DUI/DWI can be complicated. The laws surrounding a DUI/DWI charge in New Hampshire are very strict, so it is important to know what steps to take immediately following your arrest. 

DUI Offenses in New Hampshire

There are four types of DUI offenses in New Hampshire. If convicted, each offense determines the consequences you will incur. 

  • DWI First Offense- Class B Misdemeanor- Penalties include of a first offense include a minimum fine of $500.00 up to $1200, 9 months and up to 2 years license suspension,  completion of an alcohol and drug abuse screening within 14 days of conviction, and if testing demonstrates the likelihood of a substance use disorder, to submit further to a full substance use disorder evaluation within 30 days of conviction, to be administered by a service provider indicated by the IDCMP and thereafter to follow the service plan developed from that substance use disorder evaluation by the IDCMP.  You will also be responsible for a $125.00 reinstatement fee at the time your license is restored as well as an SR 22 form, which is proof of insurance on your license. The court may suspend up to 6 months of the loss of license if you are screened within 14 days and, if required, completed the substance use disorder evaluation within 30 days with a service provider indicated by an IDCMP and are in compliance with the service plan produced thereafter, and has completed a department of health and human services approved impaired driver education program. The court may, in its discretion, require the installation of an interlock device in accordance with RSA 265-A:36 during the period of sentence reduction, and may reimpose the longer suspension period if the defendant becomes noncompliant with the treatment recommendations at any time during the suspension period.
  • Aggravated DWI – penalties of an aggravated DWI include a minimum fine of $750.00 and up to $2,000, license loss for 18 months and extended for up to 2 years at the discretion of the court, upon confirmation from the IDCMP that the person is in full compliance with the service plan, the court may suspend up to 6 months of this sentence, with the condition that an interlock device be installed for the period of the suspended sentence, in addition to any period required in accordance with RSA 265-A:36 and provided that all fees have been paid; sentenced to 17 consecutive days in the county correctional facility, of which 12 days shall be suspended. The Court shall make a referral to the IDCMP to schedule a full substance use disorder evaluation; a condition of the suspension shall be that upon release from serving the 5 days in the county correctional facility, the person shall schedule a substance use disorder evaluation within 60 days of release, and comply with the service plan developed. The IDCMP shall administer the substance use disorder evaluation. Any portion of the suspended sentence to the county correctional facility may be imposed if the defendant does not comply with all of the requirements of the sentence or becomes noncompliant with the service plan during the suspension period; ordered to install an interlock device in accordance with RSA 265-A:36;  followed by a substance abuse assessment and completion of your service plan as developed by the IDCMP. You will also be required to install an ignition interlock device upon restoration of your license.
  • Felony Aggravated DWI- (c) Any person who is convicted of aggravated DWI under RSA 265-A:3, I(b) or II(b), shall be:
    • (1) Guilty of a class B felony;
    • (2) Fined not less than $1,000;
    • (3) Sentenced to a mandatory sentence of not less than 35 consecutive days in the county correctional facility, of which 21 shall be suspended. The court shall refer the person to an IDCMP to schedule a full substance use disorder evaluation. A condition of the suspension shall be that upon release from serving the 14 days in the county correctional facility, the person shall schedule a substance use disorder evaluation within 30 days of release, complete the required substance use disorder evaluation within 60 days of release, and comply with the service plan developed. The IDCMP shall administer the substance use disorder evaluation and shall develop the service plan from that substance use disorder evaluation. Any portion of the suspended sentence to the county correctional facility may be imposed if the defendant does not comply with all of the requirements of this subparagraph or becomes noncompliant with the service plan during the suspension period;
    • (4) Ordered to install an interlock device in accordance with RSA 265-A:36; and
    • (5) Subject to the following:
    • (A) The person’s driver’s license or privilege to drive shall be revoked for not less than 18 months and, at the discretion of the court, such revocation may be extended for a period not to exceed 2 years. The court may suspend up to 6 months of this sentence, provided that the person shall schedule a substance use disorder evaluation within 30 days of release, or upon release from the county correctional facility, whichever occurs later, complete the required substance use disorder evaluation within 60 days of release with a service provider indicated by an IDCMP, and the service plan produced thereafter, with the condition that an interlock device be installed for the period of the suspended sentence in addition to any period required in accordance with RSA 265-A:36 and provided that all fees have been paid; and
    • (B) The sentencing court may require the person to submit to random urinalysis or such other tests as the court may deem appropriate.
    • Under 21- Any person who is convicted of a DWI/DUI and whose offense occurred while the person was under the age of 21, shall be sentenced according to the provisions of this section, except that in all cases the person’s driver’s license or privilege to drive shall be revoked for not less than one year. The person shall schedule a substance use disorder evaluation with a service provider indicated by an IDCMP within 30 days of conviction, or upon release from the correctional facility, whichever occurs later, complete the required substance use disorder evaluation within 60 days of release, comply with the service plan developed by the IDCMP, and complete an approved impaired driver education program if not previously completed within the past 5 years.
  • DWI/DUI 2nd or subsequent-
    Upon conviction of any offense DWI/DUI, based on a complaint which alleged that the person has had one or more prior convictions of DWI/DUI or Negligent Homicide, or under reasonably equivalent offenses in an out-of-state jurisdiction, within 10 years preceding the date of the second or subsequent offense, the person shall be subject to the following penalties in addition to those provided in paragraph:
    • (a) For a second offense:
      • (1) The person shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor;
      • (2) The person shall be fined not less than $750;
      • (3)(A) If the complaint alleges that the prior conviction occurred within 2 years preceding the date of the second offense, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory sentence of not less than 60 consecutive days in the county correctional facility, of which 30 days shall be suspended. The court shall refer the person to an IDCMP to schedule a full substance use disorder evaluation. A condition of the suspension shall be that upon release from serving the 30 days in the county correctional facility, the person shall schedule a substance use disorder evaluation within 30 days of release, complete the required substance use disorder evaluation within 60 days of release, and comply with the service plan developed. The IDCMP shall administer the substance use disorder evaluation and shall develop the service plan from that substance use disorder evaluation. Any portion of the suspended sentence to the county correctional facility may be imposed if the defendant does not comply with all of the requirements of this subparagraph or becomes noncompliant with the service plan during the suspension period;
      • (B) If the complaint alleges that the prior conviction occurred more than 2 but not more than 10 years preceding the date of the second offense, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory sentence of not less than 17 consecutive days in the county correctional facility, of which 12 days shall be suspended. The court shall refer the person to an IDCMP to schedule a full substance use disorder evaluation. A condition of the suspension shall be that upon release from serving the 5 days in the county correctional facility, the person shall schedule a substance use disorder evaluation within 30 days of release, complete the required substance use disorder evaluation within 60 days of release, and comply with the service plan developed. The IDCMP shall administer the substance use disorder evaluation and shall develop the service plan from that substance use disorder evaluation. Any portion of the suspended sentence to the county correctional facility may be imposed if the defendant does not comply with all of the requirements of this subparagraph or becomes noncompliant with the service plan during the suspension period; and
      • (4) The person’s driver’s license or privilege to drive shall be revoked for not less than 3 years. The person’s driver’s license or privilege to drive shall not be restored by the department until the person shall have completed the service plan developed by the IDCMP, and paid all relevant fees.
  • DWI/DUI Third offense– any person convicted under this paragraph shall be subject to all the penalties of subparagraph (a) except that:
    • (1) The person’s driver’s license or privilege to drive shall be revoked indefinitely and shall not be restored for at least 5 years. At the end of the 5-year minimum revocation period the person may petition the court for eligibility to reapply for a driver’s license and the court, for good cause shown, may grant such eligibility subject to such terms and conditions as the court may prescribe. Any untimely petition under this subparagraph shall be dismissed without a hearing. If such petition is granted and the person is otherwise eligible for license restoration, the person may then apply to the director for restoration of driver’s license, but the license shall not be restored until all requirements under law are met. The person’s driver’s license or privilege to drive shall not be restored by the department until the person shall have completed the service plan developed by the IDCMP, and paid all relevant fees.
    • (2) The person shall be sentenced to a mandatory sentence of not less than 180 consecutive days of which 150 shall be suspended. The court shall refer the person to an IDCMP to schedule a full substance use disorder evaluation. A condition of the suspension shall be that upon release from serving the 30 days in the county correctional facility, the person shall schedule a substance use disorder evaluation within 30 days of release, complete the required substance use disorder evaluation within 60 days of release, and comply with the service plan developed. The IDCMP shall administer the substance use disorder evaluation and shall develop the service plan from that substance use disorder evaluation. Any portion of the suspended sentence to the county correctional facility may be imposed if the defendant does not comply with all of the requirements of this subparagraph or becomes noncompliant with the service plan during the suspension period. The remainder of the sentence may be deferred for a period of up to 2 years. The court may, at the satisfactory completion of any required treatment, suspend any remaining deferred sentence.
  • DWI/DUI Fourth or subsequent offense any person convicted under this paragraph shall be subject to all the penalties of subparagraphs (a) and (b) except that the person shall be guilty of a felony, and the person’s driver’s license or privilege to drive shall be revoked indefinitely and the person shall not petition for eligibility to reapply for a driver’s license as provided in subparagraph (b)(1) for at least 7 years.
    • (a) For a third or subsequent offense when any prior offense under this paragraph is negligent homicide under RSA 630:3, II, or reasonably equivalent offense in an out-of-state jurisdiction, the person convicted under this paragraph shall be subject to all the penalties of subparagraphs (a) and (b) except that the person’s driver’s license or privilege to drive shall be revoked indefinitely and the person shall not petition for eligibility to reapply for a driver’s license as provided in subparagraph (b)(1) for at least 10 years.

Prior DWI/DUI conviction but not set forth in the complaint –If any person is convicted of a DWI/DUI, and the conviction is not based upon a complaint which alleges prior convictions as provided in paragraph IV, but the person is found to have had one or more such prior convictions in this state or in an out-of-state jurisdiction within 10 years preceding the date of the offense, the person’s driver’s license or privilege to drive shall be revoked for not less than one year nor more than 3 years. The court shall refer the person to an IDCMP to schedule a full substance use disorder evaluation. The person shall schedule a substance use disorder evaluation within 30 days of release, complete the required substance use disorder evaluation within 60 days of release, and comply with the service plan developed. The IDCMP shall administer the substance use disorder evaluation and shall develop the service plan from that substance use disorder evaluation. The court may suspend up to 6 months of this sentence, conditional on completion of the required evaluation within 30 days of the court’s finding, completion of the service plan developed by the IDCMP, and payment of all relevant fees.

The First Steps

Upon being arrested for driving while intoxicated, a few things can happen:

  • Your driver’s license may be suspended if you refused a blood alcohol test at the request of law enforcement or took a test the results of which were a .08 or higher,  or .02 or higher if under the age of 21. This poses several obvious problems, and you’ll need to make arrangements to be driven to work, your arraignment and trial, and any other obligations you may have.
  •  You’ll have your arraignment. In New Hampshire, the court rules indicate that an arraignment should occur no more than 14 days after your arrest. There may be occasions where that time frame is deviated from. At your arraignment, you’ll be formally read your charges and will either plead guilty or not guilty. 
  • You should consider contacting an experienced DUI Lawyer to help you determine how you should plead and to defend your case should you choose to plead not guilty. 

If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced right away. If you plead not guilty to your charge if you cannot reach an agreement with the prosecutor, you will have a trial. The trial will be before a judge or a jury, depending on the charge. During the trial, your lawyer will defend your case and the judge or jury will determine whether or not you are guilty of the charges against you. What happens afterward depends upon which type of offense you are charged with. At a minimum, if you are convicted, you will have to pay fines, your license will be suspended, and you will be required to complete either an alcohol and drug screening program, substance use disorder evaluation or both and an  Impaired Driver Education Program.

More Information

Don’t try to navigate the complicated legal process following a DUI arrest alone. It is vital to have a team of experienced DUI lawyers on your side to ensure the best possible outcome after a DUI charge. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.