New Hampshire DUI Laws

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Brad Larsen
Licensed Insurance Agent for 6 Years

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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New Hampshire DUI laws are tough on DUI/DWI drivers. Check out our DUI/DWI Guide and make sure you save on New Hampshire insurance! Impaired drivers cause emotional and economic damage to themselves, their families, and their communities. Compare cheap car insurance quotes with our ZIP code search! Fatal-crash reports in the morning newspaper or on television’s evening news shock everyone. People respond intensely to deaths or serious injury of children or teenagers. These issues prompted the passage of New Hampshire’s tough DUI laws.

What is driving while intoxicated in New Hampshire?

When drivers’ blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) reach a defined level, the driver is DUI. Controlled substances, such as marijuana or cocaine, in the system establish DUI. The defined levels of BAC are 0.08 or higher for typical drivers, BAC 0.04 or higher for commercial drivers, and BAC 0.02 for drivers 21 years or younger under the Zero Tolerance law.

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What methods before arrest help police officers detect DUI?

Field sobriety tests such as asking drivers to walk a straight line, put index fingers together with eyes closed, or take a simple breath test indicate impairment. Visual observation is often enough: drivers staggering, falling down or smelling strongly of alcohol can be arrested. If you break a DUI, compare and find affordable car insurance with our ZIP code search!

What major penalties do convictions have under New Hampshire’s DUI laws?

First New Hampshire DUI convictions include minimum fines of $500 and 9 months to 2 years license suspension. Suspended drivers complete impaired-driver intervention programs before license restoration. Suspended drivers pay for programs. Drivers must obtain and find cheap SR22 insurance. Alcohol and/or drug treatment and counseling programs are required for some drivers.

Second DUI convictions, if within 2 years of the first, include a 30-day jail penalty. A second time offender spends 7 days in a Multiple Offender Intervention Detention Center. Penalties include $750 fines and minimum 3 year license suspension. If more than 2 years, but less than 10 years, elapse before a second conviction, the driver serves 3 days in jail. Before driving again, the driver purchases New Hampshire SR22 insurance.

Third DUI convictions include 180 days minimum jail time and minimum $750 fines. Licenses are suspended indefinitely, but offenders may petition the court for reinstatement after 7 years. Third-time offenders with restored licenses also must purchase SR22 insurance before driving. A 28-day minimum residential-treatment program and possibly alcohol and/or drug-treatment-program attendance may be required.

Where can drivers obtain NH SR22 insurance?

On-line automobile insurers offer wide ranges of cheap car insurance quotes online. Most companies issue SR22 coverage. Select a policy only after doing comparison shopping to find best prices and options.

What is aggravated DUI?

Aggravated DUI, a more serious charge, brings more severe penalties. Blood alcohol levels of 0.16 or more, driving 30 miles or more over the posted speed limit, causing a death or serious injury accident, DUI while carrying a passenger under 16 years of age, attempting flight from an officer by speeding up, turning off headlights, or running from the scene all bump the DUI charge up to aggravated DUI. Compare New Hampshire car insurance after receiving a DUI.

What are drivers’ rights before being tested for drunk driving?

Before performing any tests on the driver’s blood, urine, or breath, the officer informs the arrested person of the right to have similar tests done by someone else on the driver’s behalf. Then the opportunity must be given to request additional tests. Refusing to allow any test-taking by the officer is the driver’s right, but the consequences of refusing tests must be explained fully by the officer. If the officer fails to inform the arrested person of these rights and consequences, the tests the officer performs will not hold up in court. One should make sure they know the proper car insurance laws after receiving a DUI. A DUI could drastically affect one’s insurance!

What does implied consent mean?

New Hampshire is an Implied Consent state. Anyone who drives, or attempts to drive, on New Hampshire roads, streets or highways is deemed to have given consent to testing for drugs or alcohol if arrested for any offense committed while driving on New Hampshire’s public ways. After getting a DUI, one should check out the minimum car insurance in New Hampshire to save money.

What tests can an arresting officer order post-arrest?

Officers checking BAC levels use one of three tests: urine sample, Breathalyzer, or blood test. The option lies with the driver. Urine samples taken a couple of hours after the last alcohol consumption may result in a false high BAC reading. Over time, alcohol concentrates in the urine resulting in higher BAC readings.

Breathalyzers done within an hour of the last alcohol consumption may result in higher BAC results. Alcohol, in small amounts, remains in the mouth and throat. A Breathalyzer picks it up. Actual BAC level might be under the limit. Blood tests pick up both alcohol and drugs. Drugs in drivers’ blood carries the risk of more serious charges. Drivers know if drugs are present.

What happens at the arraignment?

The arraignment, or first appearance, is when the arrested person needs to appear in court. The date appears on the DWI Summons and Complaint form. A checked box on the form indicates “court appearance required.” Arraignment is a formal procedure for reading of rights followed by reading and explanation of charges. The driver enters a guilty or not guilty plea. Talk with your car insurance company and find the best route to take on your car insurance!

What is the intent of New Hampshire’s DUI laws?

New Hampshire enacted laws to diminish or eliminate DUI/DWI. DUI consequences include property damage, serious injury, and death. Drivers lose licenses and freedom. Laws establish violations, penalties, and counseling and treatment programs. Laws and education are key elements in controlling DUI/DWI. Check out our Car Insurance Guide and find ways you can save after getting a DUI!

New Hampshire’s DUI laws are some of the toughest in the nation, but they also protect rights of arrested drivers. Arresting officers must inform them of those rights at time of arrest. Court appearance to plead guilty or not guilty is a right. Representation by an attorney is another right. But protecting the public’s rights against impaired drivers makes tough DUI laws necessary. Find cheap car insurance by entering your ZIP code below!

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