The following information, provided by Attorney Daniel Hynes, the N.H. DWI GUY, is an overview of some issues dealing with the Law in New Hampshire related to DWI. It is not formal legal advice. Legal advice is almost always case specific. Seek a qualified NH DWI Lawyer such as Dan Hynes the NH DWI GUY to get advice on your particular case.
How can I be convicted of DWI in NH?
In New Hampshire, the State must prove 3 things to get a DWI conviction.
Operation, Public Way, and Impairment due to alcohol, or controlled drugs, or a BAC above the legal limit.
While the Statute is called driving under the influence, you do not actually have to be driving to be convicted. The State must prove you were "operating" a vehicle. This could be sitting in a parked vehicle while it was
running. However, the State must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, and if there is any issue with driving, including when the driving occurred, a good DWI lawyer can help get the charge dismissed.
Public way is roughly defined as anywhere the public has access to. It is usually a road. If you were in a driveway, or other place that is considered private, you have a good defense to your DWI.
Under the influence of alcohol or controlled drugs
The major dispute in most DWI cases is whether someone was actually impaired. This is different than drunk. The State needs to prove
impairment to any degree beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a DWI conviction. It is not illegal to drink alcohol and then drive, as long as the alcohol does not impair your ability to operate a vehicle, or give you a BAC above the legal limit.
To obtain a DWI conviction for drugs, the State must prove you were impaired by a Controlled Drug. Many prescription drugs are not
controlled drugs. Yet many drugs mimic the affects of alcohol. You have a right to make the State prove your impairment beyond a reasonable doubt.
BAC (Breath/Blood alcohol content) above the legal limit
If the State can prove your BAC was above the legal limit (.08, or .02 for drivers under 21), you can be found guilty of DWI.
Even if the State has a breath test or blood test showing .08 or higher, assuming the test was properly administered, there are many reasons of why the test can be wrong. See the Breath test/ blood test section of this pamphlet for more details.
New Hampshire DWI Penalties
Note: All DWI Penalties do not include any loss of license for refusing a test or giving a test over the legal limit. That loss of license (6 months or 2 years) can run in addition to any license loss after being found guilty of the criminal offense.
Simple First Offense DWI
Class B Misdemeanor, Fine not less than $620. Mandatory Minimum loss of license 9 months, up to 2 years. 6 months can be suspended upon enrolling in an IDIP program within 45 days of conviction. IDIP program is 20 hours, and costs around $500. It must be completed before license is returned. Major violation toward Habitual Offender law. Need SR-22 Insurance.
If driver is under 21 there is always a minimum one year loss of license.
Class A Misdemeanor, Fine not less than $750 and penalty assessment. Mandatory Minimum loss of license 18 months, up to 2 years. 6 months can be suspended with Judge's discretion.
Mandatory Jail time Minimum 3 days in jail up to a year in jail.
MOP program (7 day straight in-house treatment program) mandatory. MOP program costs around $1500. Major violation toward Habitual Offender law.Need SR-22 insurance.
If Aggravated DWI is for causing serious bodiliy injury then it is a felony. Mandatory 14 days in jail up to 3 and half years - 7 years in prison. Fine $1000-$4000. Plus other conditions of aggravated DWI.
2nd Offense DWI
Class A Misdemeanor, Fine not less than $750 plus penalty assesment.
Loss of License: At least 3 years.
If previous DWI was within 2 years then Mandatory Jail time Minimum 30 days in jail up to a year in jail.
If previous DWI was between 2 years and 10 years then Mandatory Jail time Minimum 3 days in jail up to a year in jail.
MOP program (7 day straight in-house treatment program) mandatory. MOP program costs around $1500. Major violation toward Habitual Offender law. Need SR-22 insurance. Interlock device 1-2 years.
Q: Does New Hampshire have a hardship license?
A: No. Not under any circumstances.
Q: What if I refuse a breath or blood test?
A: If you refuse after being arrested for DWI you will lose your license for 6 months or 2 years. Unless you are sucsessful at an administrative license suspension hearing.
Q: What is the "Legal Limit" in NH?
A: .08 for drivers 21+, .02 for drivers under 21, and .04 for drivers operating a commercial vehicle.
Q: What is IDIP?
A: It is an impaired driver intervention program. It costs around $500. It is around 20 hours. You must complete it if found guilty of DWI before you get your license back. At the end of the program you may be required to get additional treatment.
Q: What is MOP?
A: It is the multiple offender program. You will have to complete it if convicted of a subsequent (second or more DWI), or if you were found guilty of aggravated DWI. It is a 7 day in-house treatment program. It costs around $1500. Again, at the end you will be evaluated and may require extra treatment before you can drive again.
Q: What should do I after I am arrested?
A: Do not give extra information to the police. If it is close to the time of arrest go to a hospital and get a blood test. Call an experienced DWI Lawyer to go over your case.
Q: How much will it cost for you to represent me/ How can I afford it?
A: The cost of how much it will cost for me to represent you depends on a variety of factors. For a first offense DWI you can expect to pay around 2-4 thousand dollars to have an experienced and knowledgable DWI lawyer represent you.
Q: Do I need an attorney?
Consider the following: If you cut open your arm with a knife, you could try and fix it yourself, either with bandages or staples, or you could go to a trained professional, a Doctor, and get it properly taken care of. The Dr. will cost you more than if you did it yourself, but the results ought to be worth it. You wouldn't risk your body by trying to do it youself, why risk going to jail or losing your license by doing it yourself?
How do I know which attorney to hire?
Hiring the lawyer who is right for you can be a difficult decision. I advise clients that the most important things they should look for in a lawyer is experience, knowledge of the law, communication/ relationship with the client, and cost. After discussing my credentials with potential clients, telling them how I would handle their case, and discussing the cost, I find most clients are happy with the services I offer and decide to hire me to represent them. Feel free to call me at (603) 674 - 5183, for a free phone consultation to discuss your options with you.
When should I hire a lawyer?
By visiting my site, I assume you are considering hiring a lawyer to help you or someone else who was charged with a crime. If you have already been arrested and have pending charges, I advise you hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Many parts of a criminal case have strict deadlines, and if they pass you will lose some of your rights. It cannot hurt to have a lawyer working on your case from the beginning. It can harm you to wait until its too late.
Will I have to testify/ go to trial?
This question is very case specific. Only after analyzing your case thoroughly could I advise as to whether it makes sense to go to trial and whether to testify. I can say that an overwhelming majority of cases are settled without the need for trial. However, it is always your choice, and if you want to go all the way and fight it, I am prepared to do that on your behalf.
What are some of my rights?
* You have the right to an attorney.
* You have the right to a court appointed attorney if you cannot afford one and face possible incarceration. However, you may still be liable to repay the State hundreds of dollars or more.
* You have the right to hire your own attorney.
* You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to testify at trial.
* You have the right to be informed that anything you say may be used against you.
* You have the right to be informed of the charges against you.
* You have the right to confront the witnesses against you and to obtain witnesses in your favor.
* You have a right to all of the records that the police have.
* You have the right to a speedy trial.
* You have a right to a jury trial, when you face incarceration.
* You are Not Guilty until proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.
Why do you represent drunk drivers?
I received this comment recently:
My sister was killed by a drunk driver. You're scum and I hope a drunk driver takes out one of your family members someday.
My Answer to that question is:
First, I represent those accused of DWI. It is not against the law to drink alcohol and then drive. It is against the law to drink alcohol and drive while impaired or with a certain blood alcohol content. It is also a constitutional right to have effective assistance of counsel and to have the State prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Many people who are accused of drunk driving need effective lawyers to maintain their innocence as too many people just assume everyone who is accused of DWI was actually "drunk driving" or committing a crime.
No DWI Attorney that I know of encourages drunk driving. Certainly, there are too many people who do violate the law and cause life altering consequences to themselves and others. Like the original commenter, I too had a family member, a cousin, killed by someone driving under the influence. But that does not mean everyone accused of DWI was actually driving under the influence. An arrest is not a conviction. If you are ever accused of a crime you did not commit you will understand how important it is to be innocent until proven guilty.
How do I pick a New Hampshire DWI Lawyer?
Hiring the best lawyer for you can be a difficult decision. I advise clients that the most important things they should look for in a lawyer is experience, knowledge of the law, communication/ relationship with the client, cost, whether a majority of the lawyer’s cases are DWI defense, and perhaps, most importantly, previous results. Feel free to call me at (603) 674 - 5183, for a free phone consultation to discuss your options with you.
For more detailed information regarding dwi laws, visit my website: http://www.nhdwiguy.com
For more information on DWI Statutes, see: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XXI/265-A/265-A-mrg.htm
Some Recent Results:
#144 August 2013 Charge: aggravated DWI
Location: Manchester District Court
Client charged with aggravated DWI for a breath test of .20. We had the breath tubes independently tested and there was an issue. Evenutally there was a plea offer to dismiss the aggravated DWI in exchange for a plea to standard DWI.
Result: 6 month license loss. Jail time avoided.
#143 August 2013 Charges: Driving while intoxicated
Location: Plymouth District Court
Client charged with DWI after going off the road and causing an accident. DWI dismissed in exchange for a plea to reckless driving.
Result: No DWI conviction
#142 July 2013 Charges: Second offense DWI
Location: Salem District Court
Client charged with second offense DWI drugs/alcohol. After extensive negotiations, the DWI was dismissed for a plea to reckless driving. Client has a MA license, and would have been hit with an extensive license loss if found guilty of the DWI.
Result: No DWI or jail time. 90 Day license loss. LADC evaluation. Fines.
Copyright: 2011 Law offices of Dan Hynes. Disclaimer: Use of this site does not create an attorney/client relationship. This site may be considered advertising.