New Hampshire DWI / DUI Penalties
With offices in Boston, Methuen, and Burlington, DiBella Law Offices, P.C., handles cases in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. If you have been charged with DWI (driving while influenced) in New Hampshire, our knowledgeable criminal attorney can assist you. With more than 10 years of experience and full knowledge of DWI laws and potential penalties, our defense lawyer is extremely efficient and hardworking.
New Hampshire laws define a DWI (also referred to as a DUI) as driving or attempting to drive with a 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) or while under the influence of natural or synthetic compounds that impair your ability to drive, such as prescription drugs, controlled substances, and even over-the-counter drugs. In addition to the general BAC limit, there are other legal limits for specific categories of drivers:
- Commercial drivers, from big rig drivers to moving truck drivers, can be charged with a DWI if their BAC is at or over 0.04%.
- Drivers under the age of 21 can be charged with a DWI if their BAC is at or over 0.02%.
Penalties for DWI can vary depending on the circumstances, but often include a fine, a license suspension, intervention programs, jail time, and an ignition interlock device. There may also be additional penalties for a DWI involving injuries, aggravated DWI, and DWI negligent homicide, which is why it is important to contact a knowledgeable New Hampshire law firm to help you navigate the various DWI laws.
As your criminal defense firm, we act with urgency to build a strong defense on your behalf. In New Hampshire, a "wet reckless" plea bargain might be accepted when the amount of alcohol is just at the legal limit, if there was no resulting motor vehicle accident or if you have no prior record. This is a conviction of reckless driving that carries lesser penalties than a conviction for DWI.
Whether facing a first offense or subsequent offense, you face potential penalties that include the following:
- First offense over 21 years of age (.08 BAC): Driver’s license suspension ranging from nine months to two years, monetary fines of at least $500, required completion of an Impaired Driver Intervention Program (IDIP), participation in a treatment and recovery plan overseen by the Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP), and an ignition interlock device
- First offense under 21 years of age (.02 BAC): Possible charges in addition to underage DUI, including minor in possession and minor in consumption, mandatory driver’s license suspension, and an ignition interlock device
- Second offense: Minimum mandatory imprisonment of at least 60 days, driver’s license suspension for at least three years, monetary fines of at least $750, full substance abuse evaluation and recovery plan with the IDCMP, and an ignition interlock device
- Third offense: Minimum mandatory imprisonment of at least 180 days, driver’s license suspension for at least five years, monetary fines of at least $750, full substance abuse evaluation and recovery plan with the IDCMP, and an ignition interlock device
- Fourth and subsequent offense: Classified as a felony, minimum mandatory imprisonment of at least 180 days, indefinite driver’s license suspension with reapplication not possible until seven years from the date of conviction, monetary fines of at least $750, full substance abuse evaluation and recovery plan with the IDCMP, and an ignition interlock device
Often, DWI offenses are associated with additional charges, such as speeding, refusing to pull over, or causing serious bodily harm. In these cases, New Hampshire courts may charge a defendant with Aggravated DWI, which is classified as a class A misdemeanor.
To be charged with Aggravated DWI, a defendant must be charged with DWI and:
- Driving more than 30 miles per hour above the legal speed limit
- Causing serious bodily injury during a traffic collision
- Increasing speed, turning off headlights, or abandoning your vehicle to escape a police officer
- Having a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle
- Having a BAC of 0.16% or more
In addition to the earlier stated penalties for a DWI, Aggravated DWI than can result in the following:
- $750-2,000 fine if convicted of a misdemeanor
- $1,000-4,000 fine if convicted of a felony, such as cases of serious bodily injury
- Mandatory imprisonment for up to 17 days, including a 12-day suspension
- A full substance abuse disorder evaluation
- License revocation for 18-months to two-years, including a six-month suspension
- An ignition interlock device for one to two years after the revocation period
As mentioned above, a DWI involving serious bodily injury can result in a charge of Aggravated DWI, but as a class B felony charge. A felony DWI invokes the same penalties as a fourth offense.
Negligent homicide involving a motor vehicle refers to the unintentional killing of another person and is a class B felony in New Hampshire. However, in cases involving a DWI charge, this charge is moved to a class A felony. Class A felonies can result in up to 15 years in jail, a maximum of $4,000 in fines, and a lifetime license revocation, with the option to re-apply after seven years. Negligent homicide involving a DWI conviction is one of the most serious DWI charges and can have a vast negative impact on your life.
The penalties of a DWI can result in major ramifications, from jail time to expensive court fines. If you have been charged with a DWI in New Hampshire, do not hesitate to contact DiBella Law Offices, P.C at (978) 221-2252. We offer free consultations to discuss your case and provide legal services for southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts.