New Hampshire DWI Laws
New Hampshire has enacted harsh laws to punish those who are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). If convicted of this serious crime, you could face penalties such as jail time, fines, impaired driver programs, and license suspension. In addition, you will develop a criminal record that is accessible by the public. Any person charged with a New Hampshire DWI is strongly encouraged to hire an experienced defense attorney.
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, there two different charges you may face. In a common-law drunk-driving case, the prosecutor can use evidence of your driving, appearance, behavior, and field sobriety tests to prove that your driving was affected by the consumption of alcohol.
New Hampshire also has a “per se” law based on your blood alcohol content (BAC), which is measured by a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test. For drivers over the age of 21, the legal limit is .08%. Due to the state’s Zero Tolerance laws, underage drivers may be charged if they have a BAC of only .02%. Keep in mind that you can be charged with a per se DWI even if your driving was not impaired—the results of your BAC test may be enough to convict you.
Unlike other states, a jury trial is not available for an individual who is charged with a first offense DWI in New Hampshire; however, those who have multiple offenses on their record or are charged with an aggravated first offense may select this option.
If you are arrested for drunk-driving—whether you took the breathalyzer test and were over the legal limit or refused to take it—you may lose your driver’s license 30 days after the date of your arrest unless you request an administrative hearing during this time to contest your suspension. Your driving privileges may be suspended for 180 days.