New Hampshire DUI Laws & Penalties

DUI laws, penalties, fines, license suspension, sr22 filing and more

New Hampshire DUI law section 265-A:2 states that it is unlawful for any person to operate or attempt to drive a motorized vehicle in the state of New Hampshire while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicants or any combination thereof with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater.

It is not necessary for a person who is stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence in New Hampshire to show the typical signs of impairment one would expect to see in someone who has been consuming alcohol or drugs, just the fact that that person's BAC level is above the legal limit of .08% or greater will get you arrested for DUI in New Hampshire.

A person can still be arrested and charged with DUI in New Hampshire even if their BAC level is below the legal limit just by displaying signs of impairment that are consistent with driving under the influence.

Even before an officer stops someone on suspicion of DUI, the officer is already starting to build a case against that individual starting with observing the individual's driving behavior prior to initiating a DUI stop.  The officer is going to be observing whether or not you are swerving within your own lane or whether or not you are swerving over the lane markers.

He will also be looking for other signs like excessively wide turns, how you are maintaining your speed versus the posted speed limit and other various observations.  All of this is going on even before the officer initiates a DUI stop.

When you are stopped the officer is going to start by asking the obvious questions as to whether or not you've been drinking and then the officer will proceed into asking you to perform some field sobriety tests.  It is not required by law that you submit to the field sobriety tests, you have every right to kindly refuse to submit to them.

You are however, required by New Hampshire's implied consent law to submit to a chemical test.  If you refuse to submit to a chemical test the arresting officer must inform you of the penalties for a test refusal and then ask you a second time if you will submit to a chemical test.

Every driver who holds a New Hampshire driver's license has agreed to the states implied consent law when they initially accepted their New Hampshire driver's license.  Basically the implied consent law says that if you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence you shall submit to a chemical test to check for alcohol, drugs or intoxicants in your body.

When a person either fails or refuses a chemical test, the arresting officer will confiscate and suspend your license and issue you a temporary license that will allow to drive for 30 days along with a "Notice of Suspension".  The notice of suspension will explain all of the details regarding the suspension and your right to an administrative hearing regarding the suspension so it is very important to read all of the paperwork the officer gave you carefully so that you understand it fully.

You must file a written request for an administrative hearing within 30 days from the date of your arrest if you want to challenge the suspension of your driver's license and try to avoid any suspension.  Any request for review of a suspension received after the 30 day period will be denied and the suspension period will stand.

If you want to challenge the suspension of your driver's license and retain your driving privileges it is strongly recommend that you hire a New Hampshire DUI attorney who has experience when it comes to representing clients at administrative hearings.

Administrative hearings can be quite intimidating for someone who is not experienced in this area.  A good New Hampshire DUI attorney will typically charge around $400 - $500 to represent someone at an administrative hearing.

New Hampshire Administrative Hearings & Reviews

When your license is suspended in New Hampshire you have two options when it comes to challenging the suspension of your license.  You can either request an administrative review, which is basically where you and your lawyer submit a statement and any evidence you have that refutes the suspension of your license and the Bureau of Hearings will review the evidence and make their decision.  You do not want a review, you want to request a hearing.

You stand the best chance of beating the suspension of your license by requesting a hearing with the Bureau in person with your lawyer present.  When you make your request for a hearing you will indicate on the request if you desire the arresting officer to be present at the review.

Your lawyer is more than likely going to request that the arresting officer be present and the reason for this is for your lawyer to have a chance to cross-examine the lawyer on various aspects of the arrest so that he can start working on defense strategies for your criminal case.

The administrative hearing will be conducted by a designated agent of the Bureau of Hearings.  All hearings are recorded by the bureau.  It should be noted that if the arresting officer has been requested to appear at the hearing and fails to show up the suspension will be dismissed and your license will be returned to you.  If you fail to appear at the hearing the suspension of your license will stand and you will not be able to request another hearing.

Hearing Process:

The hearing agent will review all of the evidence presented by the arresting officer and hear testimony under oath from the arresting officer regarding the arrest. The hearing agent will then review all of the evidence presented by you and your lawyer in your defense and hear testimony from you and/or your lawyer under oath. If you or lawyer requested that any individuals be subpoenaed to testify in your defense, the hearing agent will then hear their testimony under oath.

It is the hearing agent's job to determine if the arresting officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you were in fact under the influence and were in deed driving.  Did the officer follow proper procedures during your arrest.  Did you fail or refuse to submit to a chemical test and if you refused did the arresting officer inform you of the suspension penalties for refusing a chemical test.  Did the officer inform you of your right to have a similar chemical test conducts by a qualified person of your choice.

The hearing agent will make their final determination as to whether or not the suspension stands or should be dismissed within 15 days from the date of the hearing.  If the hearing agent rules in your favor the suspension of your license will be dismissed and your license will be returned to you.

If the hearing agent upholds the officer's suspension of your license you may file an appeal with the Director of the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles if you so choose.

If the suspension of your driving privilege is upheld you will be required to file an SR-22 with the New Hampshire DMV before they will reinstate your license following your suspension period.  An SR22 is basically just a form from your New Hampshire SR22 insurance provider that states that they agree to inform the DMV if there is a lapse in your insurance coverage during the 3-year required SR22 filing period.

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New Hampshire First Offense DUI

A New Hampshire first offense DUI is a Class B Misdemeanor offense as long as there were no aggravating circumstances.  If there were aggravating circumstances, a first offense is a Class A Misdemeanor offense.  A first offense conviction carries the following fines and penalties:

Jail time: There is no required jail sentence for a first offense unless it is an Aggravated offense.  If the first offense was an Aggravated offense the minimum jail sentence is 17 days, of which 12 days may be suspended.
Fines: The minimum fine for a first offense DUI will be not less than $500 plus court costs.  If this was an Aggravated offense the minimum fine will be $750 plus court costs.
Test refusal: A first offense refusal will result in a 180 day license suspension.
Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock will be required if you are granted driving privileges during suspension period.
Alcohol treatment: You will be required to enter into the relevant driver intervention program.  If you fail to complete or drop out of the program you will be in contempt of court and have to serve an additional 14 days in jail.  The court may order you to undergo additional counseling and alcohol or drug treatment and possible urinalysis tests.
License suspension: Your license will be suspended for a minimum of 9 months for a first offense up to a maximum of 2 years.  If this was an Aggravated offense your license will be suspended for a minimum of 18 months up to a maximum of 2 years. The court may suspend up to 6-months of your suspension period if you enter into the relevant driver intervention program within 45 days of being convicted.

Before the DMV will reinstate your license following your suspension period you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a New Hampshire SR22 policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.

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New Hampshire Second Offense DUI

A New Hampshire second offense DUI is a Class A Misdemeanor offense and is classified as a second offense when it occurs within 10 years of a previous offense. A second offense conviction carries the following fines and penalties:

Jail time: A second offense that occurs within 2 years of a previous conviction will result in no less than 60 consecutive days of imprisonment of which 30 days shall be suspended. If the second offense occurs more than 2 years but less than 10 years from a previous conviction the second offense will result in no less than 17 days of imprisonment of which 12 shall be suspended.
Fines: The fine shall not be less than $750 plus all court costs.
Test refusal: A second offense refusal will result in a 2 year license revocation.
Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock will be required if you are granted driving privileges during suspension period.
Alcohol treatment: You will be required to enter into the multiple offender program.  If you fail to complete or drop out of the program you will be in contempt of court and have to serve an additional minimum 30 days in jail.  The court may order you to undergo additional counseling and alcohol or drug treatment and possible urinalysis tests.
License revocation: Your license will be revoked for a minimum of 3 years for a second offense. Before the DMV will reinstate your license following your revocation period you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a New Hampshire SR22 policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.

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New Hampshire Third Offense DUI

A New Hampshire third offense DUI is a Class A Misdemeanor offense and is classified as a third offense when it occurs within 10 years of a two offenses. A third offense conviction carries the following fines and penalties:

Jail time: A third offense conviction will result in a minimum of 180 consecutive days imprisonment of which 150 days shall be suspended.  The court may defer the remainder of the sentence for a period of up to 2 years or they may suspend the remainder of the sentence. The length of any jail sentence will be at the court's discretion and based upon the circumstances surrounding your case and any previous convictions.
Fines: The court may defer any fine amounts for a third offense conviction.  Even if the court defers any fine amount, you will still have to pay any associated court costs.
Alcohol treatment: The court may order you to undergo additional counseling and alcohol or drug treatment and possible urinalysis tests.
License revocation: Your license will be revoked indefinitely and shall not be restored for at least 5 years following a third offense. After 5 years you may petition the court for reinstatement. Before the DMV will reinstate your license following your revocation period you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a SR22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.

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New Hampshire Fourth or Subsequent Offense DUI

A fourth or subsequent DUI offense in New Hampshire is a Felony offense and will result in imprisonment and fines that will be set at the court's discretion and based upon the circumstances surrounding your case and all previous offenses.  Your driver's license will be revoked indefinitely, but could be eligible for reinstatement after 7-years have passed.

New Hampshire CDL DUI

A person operating a commercial motor vehicle in the state of New Hampshire while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or an intoxicant with a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater or failing to submit to a chemical test will be arrested for DUI and your CDL will be revoked for a period of 1-year following a first offense violation.

If you were carrying hazardous materials at the time, your CDL will be revoked for 3-years. A second offense violation will result in a permanent CDL revocation, you will never be able to drive or operate a CMV again.  A CMV operator stopped and found to have any measurable amount of alcohol less than .04% in their system will be issued an "out-of-service" notice and will not be allowed to drive for the next 24-hours.

New Hampshire DUI Under 21 Years of Age

Your license may be suspended or revoked for 1-year for a first or any subsequent violations with a blood alcohol concentration between .02% and .08%.  The court may suspend your license for 60 days if there was a passenger under the age of 21 in the vehicle at the time or for lying on your driver license.

If a person under 21 is arrested for having a BAC of .08% or greater they will face the same charges as someone over 21 would be facing for the same offense.

New Hampshire SR22 Requirements

Before the New Hampshire DMV will reinstate your license following your suspension or revocation period, they will require you to file an SR22 form with them before issuing you a new license. You will be required to carry your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years.

At anytime during this 3-year period if there is a lapse in your New Hampshire SR22 insurance coverage, your insurance provider is obligated by law to immediately inform the New Hampshire DMV of the lapse.  If a lapse in coverage occurs, the New Hampshire DMV will immediately revoke your license and you will be required to re-file an SR22 form with the DMV before they will issue you another license.

Since you are going to have to have your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years, it is important to find the cheapest policy you can before choosing one.  DUI Process has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of New Hampshire and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

You won't be able to find a SR22 insurance policy in New Hampshire for any less.Type in your zip code below so we can provide you with the cheapest rates in your area.

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Other New Hampshire DUI Resources

  • New Hampshire First Offense DUI - First offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DUI classes, and much more.

  • New Hampshire SR22 Insurance Filing - We have compiled everything you need to know about New Hampshire's SR22 insurance and filing requirements including important addresses, phone numbers, etc.

  • New Hampshire DUI Education Classes - We offer a complete listing of state approved DUI education classes listed by County.

  • New Hampshire Bail Bondsmen - Comprehensive list of NH's bail bond agents including address, phone, website, etc.

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