New Hampshire DWI under the Legal Limit of .08
New Hampshire’s driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws make it a crime for drivers over 21 to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08%; however, you could be arrested even if your BAC is under the legal limit. If the officer believes that you show signs of impairment, you can still be charged with drunk driving.
To obtain a conviction for a DWI under the legal limit of .08%, the prosecution will call on the officer to testify about your driving pattern, appearance, behavior, and performance on the field sobriety tests. If the officer observed erratic driving, such as swerving, running stops signs, or driving in the middle of two lanes, the prosecution can argue that this is proof of intoxication.
A DWI lawyer may challenge the officer’s observations. For example, if you failed the field sobriety tests, your lawyer can review the tests to determine if they were administered properly and if the scoring was accurate. If the officer states that you had slurred speech or bloodshot eyes, your lawyer can point to your blood sugar, allergies, or fatigue as the cause of your behavior and appearance.
There are other ways in which a person may be charged with DWI even if their BAC is under .08%. In New Hampshire, minors can be charged with drunk-driving—along with a number of other crimes—if their BAC is .02% or higher. The penalty for an Under 21 DWI may include a lengthy driver’s license suspension in addition to the installation of an ignition interlock device.
Even if your BAC was below the legal limit, you could still face the same penalties as a person with a BAC reading of .08% or higher, which includes fines, loss of driving privileges, and alcohol education classes.