New hampshire Drunk Driving Law Overview
In order to be convicted for DWI the prosecution must prove that you were impaired at the time of driving. To do this, you will most likely be asked to submit to a intoxilizer or field sobriety test, and answer questions about your drinking. The refusal to submit to the intoxilizer will result in a 6 month suspension.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I have to take the field sobriety tests?
When you are stopped and not yet under arrest you do not have to submit to the field sobriety tests.
However,after the stop, if the officer believes you are drunk he may arrest you. After your arrest you are deemed to have given "implied consent" to any tests to determine your blood alcohol level. You still have the right to refuse and will have your license will automatically be suspended by the Department of Safety for a minimum of six months. You refusal to take the test can be used against you at trial.
There are many credible reasons for refusing to take the intoxilizer. Many people believe that the test in inherently unreliable and the machines are often defective. Many attorneys advise people to refuse the tests and field sobriety testing.
The text of the New Hampshire DWI Law
TITLE 21 Motor Vehicles CHAPTER 265 Rules Of The Road Serious Traffic Offenses SECTION 265:82
§ 265:82 Driving Under Influence of Drugs or Liquor; Driving with Excess Alcohol Concentration. I. No person shall drive or attempt to drive a vehicle upon any way:
(a) While such person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any controlled drug or any combination of intoxicating liquor and controlled drugs; or
(b) While such person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or in the case of a person under the age of 21, 0.02 or more.
A vigorous defense can be mounted challenging the opinion of the police officer and the validity of the tests. Independent witnesses who can attest to the amount alcohol the accused drank and officers' testimony can be dissected.. Other inquiries can include: Did the police have reasonable suspicion to conduct their investigatory stop?
Did they have probable cause to effect an arrest?
Were you advised of your right to remain silent?
Were to advised of your right to counsel?
Was the blood/breath evidence obtained and analyzed properly?
Habitual Offender Status
New Hampshire has an habitual offender law under which persons certified as a habitual offender are denied operating privileges because of repeated motor vehicle violations.
A person can be deemed an habitual offender frequency and types of motor vehicle convictions on their driving record within a five-year period based on the date of the violation. There are two types of convictions used to determine habitual offender status: major and minor convictions. Major convictions include: Driving Under the Influence, Reckless Operation, Operating After Suspension or Revocation, Conduct After an Accident, Manslaughter and Negligent Homicide resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle, and Disobeying a Police Officer. Minor convictions include: Speeding, Operating Without a License, Operating Without Proof of Insurance, and Yellow Line violations.
The state uses a formula to determine habitual offender status:
There must be:
Three major convictions
Two major convictions and four minors
One major and eight minors
Serious (major-type) out-of-state convictions can also be counted towards this total.
If the above formula is met a person will be served with a certified copy of thier driving record, along with an order to appear for a haering.
At the hearing if a person has the requisite number of convictions within the five years, the perosn will be declared a habitual offender, and all drivers license will be revoked forone to four years.
This finding may be appealed to the Merrimack County Superior Court within thirty (30) days of the date of the certification order.
If an individual drives any motor vehicle on a way of this state while declared a habitual offender, he or she will be subject to arrest, a felony charge, and up to five (5) years in jail as well as a four thousand dollar fine ($4000).
Drivers' Licenses License Suspension and Revocation
TITLE 21 Motor Vehicles CHAPTER 263 Drivers' Licenses License Suspension and Revocation SECTION 263:56-b
§ 263:56-b Revocation or Denial for Drugs or Alcohol Involvement. I. Any person who is 15 years of age or older and not yet 18 years
of age on the date of the incident, who is convicted, found to be delinquent under RSA 169-B, or found to be in need of services under RSA 169-D, for any offense involving the sale, possession, use, or abuse of alcohol or of controlled drugs as defined in RSA 318-B:1, VI, or of a controlled drug analog as defined under RSA 318-B:1, VI-a, may at the discretion of the court be subject to the revocation or denial of a driver's license as provided in this section. Notwithstanding RSA 169-B:35 or any other law regarding confidentiality, any court which convicts or makes a finding that an offense described in this section has occurred involving a person who meets the age limits specified in this section shall forward a notice of such conviction or finding to the director. The director shall maintain the confidentiality of notices received.
II. The director shall revoke the driver's license or deny an application for a license for not less than 90 days but not more than one year on the first finding or conviction under paragraph I, and not less than 6 months but not more than 2 years for a subsequent finding or conviction; provided, however, that the director shall not revoke or deny a license under this paragraph without first giving the person an opportunity for a hearing. In the case of denial of an application for a license, the period imposed shall begin on the date the person is eligible by age for the issuance of a license.
III. Any person who is 15 years of age or older and not yet 18 years of age on the date of the incident, and who is convicted, found to be delinquent under RSA 169-B, or found to be in need of services under RSA 169-D, for the offense of possession with intent to sell controlled drugs as defined in RSA 318-B:1, VI or a controlled drug analog as defined under RSA 318-B:1, VI-a, shall be subject to revocation or denial of a driver's license for a mandatory period of at least one year and a maximum period of up to 5 years. In the case of denial of an application for a license under this section, the period imposed shall begin on the date the person is eligible by age for the issuance of a license.
IV. The driver's license or privilege to drive of any person who is 18 years of age or older on the date of the incident, and who is convicted of the offense of possession with intent to sell controlled drugs as defined in RSA 318-B:1, VI or a controlled drug analog as defined under RSA 318-B:1, VI-a, may be revoked, at the discretion of the court, for any period of time, including for life. Any person convicted of such offense may be denied a driver's license at the discretion of the court, for any period of time, including for life. The court of relevant jurisdiction shall have the discretion to determine when the revocation shall begin.
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