DUI in New Hampshire

There are two different ways that a driver can be charged with either a DUI or DWI offense in the state of New Hampshire.  The first is referred to as the “common-law” drunk driving case.  The prosecutor will use the following circumstantial evidence gathered by the officer at the time of the arrest against you in court:

  • driving patterns
  • field sobriety testing
  • physical appearance

The second method involves the New Hampshire “per se” law.  This method does not relate to your physical condition or impairment.  Instead, it is based on body chemistry, specifically a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 per cent or higher.  Additonally, you will be charged with “aggravated” DUI/DWI if your BAC is 0.16 per cent or higher.

In the state of New Hampshire, an officer can make an arrest for the following drunk driving offenses:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of these
  • Driving with a BAC of .08 or greater
  • If under the age of 21, driving with a BAC of .02 or greater
  • Aggravated DWI under the following circumstances: Driving over the speed limit by at least 30 miles per hour, becoming involved in an accident where severe bodily harm is a factor, driving with a BAC of .16 or greater, attempting to run from police

New Hampshire DUI Penalties


Court Fines Potential Jail Time License Suspension
1st Conviction Up to $500
None 9 months - 2 years
2nd Conviction Up to $750 Minimum 10 days Minimum of 3 years
3rd Conviction Court determined
Minimum 180 days
Minimum of 5 years

Court Consequences and Driving Repercussions

Unlike most other states, New Hampshire does not sentence first time offenders to jail time unless the defendant is found guilty of aggravated DWI.  Under normal circumstances, a first time offender will be fined up to $500, have their license suspended for up to 2 years, and be required to enroll in a driver's education program for additional fees.  For an aggravated DWI conviction, a driver can face up to a one-year jail sentence,  fines up to $2,000, and license suspension up to 2 years. 

Also, in New Hampshire, a first-time offender does not have the right to a jury trial.  If, however, it is deemed an “aggravated” DWI, or if there are multiple offenses, you will have the right to a jury trial.

Once you have had three or more offenses, it is considered a felony and you will be looking at up to a year in jail, up to $2,000 in fines plus an additional 20 per cent of the fines total on top of that, and your license will be suspended for seven years.  In addition to this, you will be required to go through a certified alcohol and drug treatment program and attend driving school.

A DUI is a serious offense. If you need legal assistance with a DUI case, please consult with a DUI Lawyer near you to discuss the details of your case. The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only.

DMV Administrative Hearing

An administrative hearing needs to be requested with the DMV within 30 days of your arrest.  Without this hearing, you could be subjected to a 180-day suspension of your driving privileges.

If you are facing a possible DUI conviction, it is important to talk with an attorney who can advise you on your situation and possibly assist you in mitigating potential penalties.

Chemical Testing and Implied Consent Laws

Under New Hampshire state law, any licensed person operating a motor vehicle automatically gives his or her consent to an approved test (blood, breath, or urine) for the purpose of showing intoxication.  Chemical tests must be administered by a qualified person according to standards set by the Department of Health and Human Services.  Test samples must be retained and made available to the defense for 30 days from date of initial testing.  Blood tests must be carried out by medical staff.  In addition, a defendant has the right to request a second, independent, chemical test at his or her own expense.

It is important to note that if you are arrested in New Hampshire for DUI/DWI, and you refuse to take the blood or breath tests, your license will be revoked for 180 days. If you have previously refused a test in the past seven years, your license will be revoked up to 2 years.  There is no penalty for refusing the Preliminary Breath Test (PBT).

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. A DUI is a serious offense. If you need legal assistance with a DUI case, please consult with a DUI Lawyer near you to discuss the details of your case.
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