New Hampshire: Underage DUI/DWI

The drinking age in New Hampshire is 21 and consumption of alcohol by anyone under 21 is illegal. (There are no exceptions.) Because underage drinkers cause a disproportionate number of alcohol-related auto accidents and also tend to engage in more episodes of binge drinking, the standards are stricter and the penalties may be harsher for those under 21 arrested for a DWI/DUI.

More information about New Hampshire’s teen driving requirements.

What constitutes driving under the influence?

If a chemical test determines that a driver under 21 has a blood alcohol content BAC of .02% or higher, the driver can be cited for driving under the influence. (For those 21 or older, the BAC is .08%)

What are the penalties?

If First Drunk Driving Conviction: imprisonment (up to ten days), fine ($750), license suspension (six to 18 months)(more information:  First Offense DWI/DUI in New Hampshire).

If Second Drunk Driving Conviction within 10 Years: imprisonment (30 days, if offense within last two years) fine ($750 up to $1,000) license suspension (up to three years). (More Information:  Second Offense DWI/DUI in New Hampshire.)

What if you refuse the chemical test? Read about New Hampshire implied consent laws.  

What other charges?

In addition to driving under the influence, an underage drinker may be charged with any of the following:

  • distributing alcohol to other minors (were there underage drunk passengers?),
  • minor in possession,
  • soliciting alcohol,
  • child endangerment law violations,
  • possession of false identification (was a fake id used to purchase alcohol?), and
  • moving and vehicle maintenance violations (what else did the arresting officer see?).

What happens to insurance?

Some insurance companies may terminate a policy after an underage DUI (while others refuse to renew). Most companies simply raise the cost of the monthly premium by $100 to $200 (sometimes higher) for a higher risk policy. The raise usually stays in place for three to five years. You’ll also probably need to furnish the DMV with an SR-22 certificate to reinstate a license after suspension (as proof of insurability). Most insurance companies furnish this form to the DMV. Check with your insurer to see if it performs this service

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