New Hampshire Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties

Learn about the penalties for a first, second, and third DWI conviction in New Hampshire.

In New Hampshire, you can get a DWI (also called “DUI”) for driving or attempting to drive:

  • with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater, or
  • while “under the influence” of any natural or synthetic substance that impairs a person’s ability to drive—includes alcohol, prescription drugs, controlled substances, and over-the-counter drugs.

The BAC level that can lead to a DWI is lower for commercial drivers (.04% or more) and drivers who are under the age of 21 (.02% or more).

New Hampshire DWI Penalties

The penalties for a DWI conviction—jail, license suspension, and fines—are based on the number of prior DWI convictions the offender has that occurred within the last ten years.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Jail

None

17 days to 1 year (minimum 60 days if prior within last 2 years)

180 days to one year

Fines

$500 to $1,200

$750 to $2,000

$750 to $2,000

License suspension

9 months to 2 years

3 years

Lifetime revocation

Probation. The judge can suspend part of the jail sentence and place the offender on probation for up to two years. During this time, the driver must complete an alcohol and drug evaluation and the Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP), which can include substance treatment, random testing, and alcohol and drug monitoring. Prior to receiving a suspended jail sentence, the offender must serve a minimum:

  • five days for a second DWI
  • 14 days if the offender has a prior DWI within the last two years, and
  • 30 days for a third DWI.

Aggravated DWI. A motorist will face increased penalties if any of the following factors accompany the DWI:

  • the driver was speeding 30 miles per hour or more over the posted limit
  • the driver caused a collision resulting in serious bodily injury
  • the driver attempted to elude law enforcement
  • the driver had a passenger under 16 years old, or
  • the driver had a BAC of .16% or more.

An aggravated DWI is a class A misdemeanor and carries five days to one year in jail and a $750 to $2,000 fine. If the offense involved serious bodily injury, the DWI will be a class B felony and carry 14 days to seven years in jail and $1,000 to $4,000 in fines.

For an aggravated DWI, the driver’s license will be suspended for 18 months to two years. The driver may be eligible for a reduction of the suspension period to 12 months if he or she is compliant with all IDCMP requirements.

Driver’s License Penalties

A DWI can result in license penalties related to an unlawful chemical test refusal, a chemical test failure, or a DWI conviction.

DWI convictions. The courts notify the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of all DWI convictions. The DMV will then suspend the driver’s license for 9 months for a first offense, three years for a second offense, and indefinitely for a third offense. However, drivers who complete a substance abuse evaluation and are compliant with the IDCMP can get their license reinstated after only three months for a first offense and 12 months for a second offense. A driver suspended indefinitely can normally apply for reinstatement after five years upon a showing of good cause and progress in the IDCMP.

Test failures. A driver who submits to testing and produces a BAC of .08% or more (.04% or more for commercial drivers and .02% or more for drivers under 21 years old) faces a six-month suspension for a first test failure and a two-year suspension for a second or subsequent test failure.

Test refusals. Any driver who unlawfully refuses a chemical test in violation of the state’s implied consent law will be suspended for 180 days. This suspension will be two years if the driver has any prior DWI convictions or test refusals.

License suspensions and revocations resulting from a test failure or DWI conviction will run together (at the same time), but a suspension due to a test refusal will be separate and concurrent to any other suspension.

Reinstatement. All fines and fees must be paid in full prior to driver’s license reinstatement. The driver must have also completed the impaired driver education program for a first offense and the IDCMP for a second or subsequent offense.

Probationary license. After reinstatement, the driver will have a probationary license for five years. During this time, the driver is prohibited from driving with a BAC of .03% or more. A test refusal or test failure (a BAC of .03% or more) will result in a 90- to 180-day suspension.

IIDs. The judge is permitted to order the use of an ignition interlock device (IID) during the probation period. An IID is required for one to two years for all drivers who are convicted of an aggravated DWI. A driver who’s under 21 years old and is convicted of an aggravated DWI must maintain an IID until the driver is at least 21 years old.

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