If you are facing New Hampshire DWI charges, you should understand the potential for serious consequences. Even a first offense, non-aggravated DWI carries significant financial penalties such as increased insurance costs with an SR-22, mandatory treatment, and court fines. DWIs also have other consequences including job loss, strained family relations, and damaged community reputation. Below is just an overview of New Hampshire DWI penalties. If you have been charged, please contact an experienced DWI defense attorney to protect your rights.
A first offense DWI in New Hampshire is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,200 fine and a 2-year loss of driver's license. If convicted, you have to complete a screening with an approved Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP) within 14 days. If testing demonstrates the likelihood of a substance use disorder, you have to complete the IDCMP full evaluation within 30 days of conviction. You also have to complete the aftercare program recommended following the evaluation.
The mandatory minimum sentence for a 1st Offense DWI is a $500 fine plus court costs, IDCMP screening within 14 days, and a 9-month loss of license. Completing the IDCMP programming is necessary to petition the court to reduce your license suspension by six months.
If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or are facing a boating while intoxicated charge, it is important to know these have separate statutes addressing their penalties.
Aggravated DWI is a Class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail, 2 years' probation, and a $2,000 fine. New Hampshire RSA 265-A:3 is the statute laying out how you commit Aggravated DWI. An Aggravated DWI conviction results in 17 days in jail, of which 12 may be suspended, a mandatory 18-month loss of license, an IDCMP evaluation, and 12 to 24 months of mandatory ignition interlock device installation.
In New Hampshire, driving a motor vehicle on a way with a BrAC of .16 or more is an Aggravated DWI. However, there are also four other ways you can be charged with Aggravated DWI:
As with any Class A misdemeanor, a court can impose a period of probation upon conviction. Importantly, a violation of probation may result in revocation of probation and imposition of any sentence within the legal limits for the underlying offense.
New Hampshire has a 10-year window in which prior DWI convictions will be used to charge motorists with subsequent DWI offenses. This is calculated from the most recent date of the previous conviction.
A second offense DWI conviction outside of 2 years but within 10 years of your prior conviction is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, 2 years of probation, and a $2,000 fine. This requires you to serve 17 days in jail; 12 of those days may be suspended. The mandatory minimum fine is $750. Your license will be suspended for at least 3 years and you will have to complete the full IDCMP evaluation and aftercare. Additionally, an alcohol ignition interlock device will be mandated for at least 12 months after you get your driver's license back.
A 2nd offense DWI within 2 years of a prior conviction is also a Class A misdemeanor carrying many of the same penalties as the 2nd offense described above. The major penalty increase is that a conviction results in a mandatory 60-day jail sentence of which 30 days may be suspended. Probation and random urinalysis are possible, but not mandatory, punishments for 2nd offense DWIs in New Hampshire.
Third offense DWI is also a Class A misdemeanor. Convictions require you to serve 180 days in jail, although the judge may suspend all but 30 of those days in jail. The judge will also suspend your driver's license for a minimum of 5 years and require a full IDCMP evaluation. The court will require a driver to pay a $750 fine and to install an interlock device for at least 12, and not more than 24, months.
A fourth offense is a felony that carries the same penalties as a third offense except for the following differences: your driver's license is suspended indefinitely and you cannot apply for reinstatement for at least 7 years. Otherwise, the sentence will include the same penalties as a third offense including the mandatory month in jail.
A misdemeanor-level DWI transforms into an Aggravated Felony DWI if the driver causes a motor vehicle, boating, or OHRV collision resulting in serious bodily injury, as defined in RSA 625:11, VI, to him or herself or someone else. This means the statute applies to the allegedly impaired driver even if they are the only person involved in the collision. Similar to misdemeanor-level Aggravated DWI offenses, Aggravated Felony DWI does not require a prior offense. A conviction of Felony Aggravated DWI carries at least 35 days in jail, all but 14 of which may be suspended. It also carries a minimum mandatory 18-month license suspension, $1,000 fine, IDCMP evaluation, and a minimum 12-month ignition interlock device installation.
Learn more about how we defend DWI charges and contact Reis & O'Keefe today for a free consultation to discuss how we can help in your case.