Second-Offense DWI/DUI in New Hampshire

Learn about some of the administrative and criminal penalties for a New Hampshire second DWI.

June 29, 2016

The consequences of a New Hampshire second-offense DWI typically include fines, license suspension, and mandatory jail time. The already-severe punishments can be further enhanced if the second offense is an “aggravated” DWI. An aggravated DWI involves operating or attempting to operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs (or other intoxicating substances) or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher and: 

  • exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 miles per hour 
  • causing a collision resulting in “serious bodily injury” 
  • attempting to elude a pursuing officer by increasing speed, extinguishing headlamps, or abandoning a vehicle, or
  • having a passenger under the age of 16.

A motorist can also be convicted of an aggravated DWI for operating or attempting to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .16% or more.

Look-Back Period

The “look-back” period is the amount of time that DWI convictions stay on your record for the purpose of determining whether a subsequent DWI will be punished as second or third offense. For most purposes, the New Hampshire look-back period is ten years. (In-state and out-of-state convictions count as priors.) So, an offense that occurs more than ten years after any priors counts as a first offense.

Administrative Penalties

Drivers with a BAC of .08% or more (.02% or more for drivers under the age of 21) and at least one prior DWI typically face an administrative license suspension of two years. Similarly, motorists with at least one prior who refuse to submit to DUI chemical testing in violation of New Hampshire’s implied consent laws face a two-year license suspension. Administrative suspensions for refusal are in addition to any suspension the criminal court hands down for a DWI conviction—in other words, the administrative and criminal suspension can’t overlap.

Generally, the New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) imposes the administrative suspension regardless of whether the driver is ultimately convicted of a DWI in criminal court.

Once a motorist has completed a DWI suspension and the other license reinstatement requirements, the DMV will issue a “probationary license” that’ll be in effect for at least five years. With a probationary license, the motorist is prohibited from driving with a BAC of .03% or more. A violation carries a 90 to 180-day administrative license suspension. If a driver refuses to submit to testing while holding a probationary license, the DMV will suspend the driver’s license for 90 days.

Criminal Penalties

In New Hampshire, a standard second-offense DWI is a Class A misdemeanor. There’s a mandatory 30-day jail sentence for offenders with a prior within the past two years, and a mandatory five-day sentence for motorists with a prior conviction that preceded the present conviction by more than two but less than ten years. A standard second DWI carries from $750 to $2,000 in fines.

New Hampshire judges must refer all motorists convicted of a second DWI to an Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP) for an alcohol and drug abuse evaluation. The offender must follow the “service plan” recommended by the IDCMP provider. And before the DMV will allow license reinstate following a DWI, all offenders must complete an Impaired Driver Education Program (IDEP)—provided, they haven’t completed an IDEP within the last five years.

A second-offense DWI carries a license revocation of at least three years.

Criminal Penalties for Aggravated Second-Offense DWIs

Where a second-offense DWI qualifies as an aggravated DWI (see factors listed above), the motorist could face penalties in addition to those imposed for a standard second DWI.

Most aggravated DWIs—like standard second DWIs—are Class A misdemeanors. However, an aggravated DWI involving serious bodily injury is a Class B felony. A misdemeanor aggravated DWI carries fines of $750 to $2,000 and anywhere from five days to one year in jail. However, a driver convicted of a felony aggravated DWI, will have to pay $1,000 to $4000 in fines and spend between 14 days and seven years in jail.

And all drivers convicted of aggravated DWIs must have an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicles for 12 months to two years after completing their license revocation period.

Getting Legal Help

If you’ve been arrested for or charged with a DWI, you should get in contact with an experienced DWI attorney in your area. DWI law is complicated, and the facts of every case are different. An attorney can help you understand how the law applies to your case.

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