LOTHSTEIN LAW OFFICE, PLLC

TED LOTHSTEIN AND GENE STRUCKHOFF - AN EXPERIENCED NEW HAMPSHIRE DUI/DWI DEFENSE TEAM

PENALTIES

PENALTIES HAVE INCREASED: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF BEING CHARGED WITH DUI/DWI TODAY.

 

The four possible DWI/DUI charges carry substantially different maximum penalties. The most basic charge, DWI, is classified as a class B misdemeanor and a crime. Although you cannot go to jail for a simple first-offense DWI conviction, both DWI 2nd offense and aggravated DWI each carry the possibility of a year in jail. If you are charged with felony aggravated DWI based on serious bodily injury (including to yourself), you face up to seven years in prison; a fourth-offense DWI is also a felony.

 

FIRST OFFENSE DWI

A regular, first-offense DWI conviction is punishable by a fine of between $500.00 and $1,200.00, plus a standard penalty assessment of 24% of the amount of the fine, and a mandatory minimum license loss of ninety days, with a maximum loss of two years. The minimum license loss that the Court may impose is nine months, but six months of that period may be suspended by the Court if you enter into a mandatory alcohol treatment program within forty-five days of the date of your conviction; your failure to enter the program in a timely fashion result in your losing your license for an extra six months unless you can demonstrate extenuating circumstances to the division of health and human services.

If you have a prior DWI on your record within the last ten years (even though you are not formally charged with DWI, 2nd offense), you face substantially higher minimum penalties plus a seven-day residential treatment program. If you are under twenty-one years of age at the time of the offense, you face a minimum revocation of one year, and if you are under twenty, in addition to the one year minimum imposed by the Court, you face and additional loss that can vary from twenty to ninety days, depending on your prior record.

Upon conviction of any DWI offense, you also must complete a state-approved substance abuse educational course prior to restoration of your license or operating privilege. For a first offense DWI, you must attend and complete a state-approved 20-hour program and any recommended aftercare, including attendance at AA or further alcohol treatment. Some of these programs meet in the evening, some on weekends.

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE DWI PENALTIES

 

DWI 1ST
 Class B Misdem.

AGG DWI - Class A Misdem.

DWI 2ND WITHIN 2 YEARS Class A Misdem.

DWI 2ND WITHIN 10 YEARS Class A Misdem.

DWI 3RD  CLASS A MISDEM.

DWI 4TH --FELONY

AGG.  DWI -SERIOUS BODILY INJURY FELONY

MIN LIC LOSS

90 Days*

1 YEAR*

3 YEARS

3 YEARS

5 YEARS

7 YEARS

1 YEAR

MAX LIC LOSS

2 YEARS

2 YEARS

3 YEARS

3 YEARS

INDEFINITE

INDEFINITE

2 YEARS

MIN FINE

$500.00

$750.00

$750.00

$750.00

$750.00

$750.00

$1000.00

MAX FINE

$1200.00

$2000.00

$2000.00

$2000.00

$2000.00

$4000.00

$4000.00

MIN JAIL

NONE

3 DAYS

30 DAYS*

3 DAYS**

30 DAYS**

30 DAYS**

14 DAYS**

MAX JAIL

NONE

1 YEAR

1 YEAR

1 YEAR

1 YEAR

7 YEARS

7 YEARS

ALCOHOL PROGRAM

20 HOUR OUTPATIENT

7 DAY RESIDENTIAL*

7 DAY RES.*

7 DAY RES.*

28 DAY RES.***

28 DAY RES.***

28 DAY RES.***


 

Regardless of the alcohol program that you must complete, you are required to complete all recommended aftercare prior to your license being restored; until you complete such treatment, the Department of Safety will not restore your license. 
*In order to receive a minimum sentence, you must enter an approved alcohol treatment program within 45
days, otherwise your loss will be six months longer; the Court's sentencing order will add six months to the minimums above, and then provides for suspension of six months upon your filing proof of entry into the requisite program within 45 days. 

**The jail sentence and the residential treatment programs must be served consecutively, with the jail sentence first, except by special permission of the Court, which may, in some instances, be obtained via Motion.  

*** A 28-day residential treatment may be completed by undergoing an intensive course of substance abuse treatment based upon a formal evaluation by a licensed alcohol and other drug counselor and approved by the NH department of health and human services (Multiple Offender Program).
NOT ALL CONSEQUENCES OF A DWI CONVICTION ARE SET FORTH IN THE TABLE. KINDLY REFER TO THE SECTION ADDITIONAL (COLLATERAL) CONSEQUENCES.

 

AGGRAVATED DWI

The more serious charge of aggravated DWI may be brought against you if certain specified circumstances exist, the most common of which is if a chemical Free Initial Consultationtest shows an alcohol concentration of 0.16% or more; you also may be charged with aggravated DWI if you were in excess of thirty miles an hour over the speed limit, or attempted to flee or elude the police, or if you were transporting someone under the age of sixteen at the time of the offense. Aggravated DWI is a criminal offense, a class A misdemeanor, unless you are charged with a more serious felony for having caused serious bodily injury (including injury to yourself) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If convicted of a misdemeanor aggravated DWI, you will be fined between $750.00 and $2000.00, plus mandatory penalty assessment of 24% of the amount of your fine. You will be sentenced to a minimum of three days in the County House of Correction, up to a maximum of one year, immediately followed by seven days in an approved seven-day residential treatment program; in the case of a felony based on serious bodily injury, the minimum jail sentence is 14 consecutive days, followed by seven days in a State-approved seven-day residential treatment program. If convicted of aggravated DWI, you will receive a license loss of between one and two years; if you are convicted of aggravated DWI based upon your transporting a person under the age of sixteen, you must be sentenced to the maximum license loss of two years. In other aggravated DWI's, the minimum license loss that the Court may impose is eighteen months, but six months of that period may be suspended by the Court if you enter into a mandatory alcohol treatment program within forty-five days of the date of your conviction; your failure to enter the program in a timely fashion will prevent the court and the Department of Safety from restoring your license sooner than eighteen months unless you can demonstrate extenuating circumstances to the division of health and human services. Prior to restoration, you must have completed an approved seven-day residential treatment program; you are also required to begin following any treatment recommendations within 60 days of the date you complete the program. Finally, an aggravated DWI conviction will result in the requirement that you install and maintain, at your own expense, an alcohol ignition interlock device for a period of one to two years following restoration of your license.

 

DWI SECOND OR THIRD

DWI second, sometimes called subsequent offense, is a crime, a Class A misdemeanor, and must be based on a previous conviction for DWI within ten years of the date of the offense. If you are charged with a second offense DWI that occurred between two and ten years after your first conviction, you face a mandatory minimum sentence of three days in the County House of Correction, with up to a year's imprisonment in the discretion of the Judge, immediately followed by seven days in an approved residential treatment program; if your prior DWI conviction is within two years of the date of the second arrest, you must serve a minimum of thirty days if convicted, once again followed by the seven days in the seven-day residential treatment program. DWI, 2nd offense also carries a three-year license loss, both maximum and minimum, a minimum fine of $750.00, up to a maximum of $2,000.00, plus a 24% penalty assessment. If you are convicted of a second-offense DWI which occurred within two years of the date of your first conviction, you face a minimum mandatory jail sentence of thirty days, immediately followed by seven days in an approved residential treatment program. If you are charged with a third offense based on two prior DWI convictions, you also face higher mandatory minimum penalties, including thirty days in jail and attendance at a residential alcohol treatment program of up to 28 days, and an indefinite license loss, but no less than five years. In addition for any subsequent offense DWI, you will be required to install and maintain, at your own expense, an alcohol ignition interlock device for a period of one to two years following restoration of your license.

 

FELONY DWI

Fourth-time DWI offenders face a felony conviction and a possible seven years in State Prison. The minimum jail sentence is 30 days and you must also complete a residential treatment program of up to 28 days. You also may face a felony charge if you cause serious bodily injury to anyone, including yourself, while operating under the influence of alcohol or at or in excess of the statutory BAC limit applicable to you (See aggravated DWI above). In the case of any felony the license loss is indefinite, but no less than seven years.

 

ALCOHOL COUNSELING

Upon conviction of any DWI offense, you also must complete a state-approved DWI training course prior to restoration of your license or operating privilege. For a first offense DWI, you must attend and complete a state-approved 20-hour program and any recommended aftercare, including attendance at AA or further alcohol treatment. Some of these programs meet in the evening, some on weekends.

For an aggravated DWI misdemeanor conviction, you must now complete a seven-day residential treatment program at an approved seven-day residential treatment program. If you are convicted of felony aggravated DWI based on serious bodily injury, the minimum jail sentence increases to 14 days, followed by the seven-day multiple offender program.

For a 2nd offense DWI, you are sentenced to complete an approved seven-day residential treatment program; that sentence must be served within 24 days of your conviction and follows a minimum of three days in the County House of Correction. Anyone with more than one previous conviction may be sentenced to a residential treatment program of up to 28 days.

For either a second offense or an aggravated DWI, you must begin to follow any treatment recommendations from your seven-day treatment program within 60 days after completion of the program.

 

DRIVERS UNDER 21 BEWARE:  IF YOU ARE UNDER 21 AT THE TIME OF YOUR OFFENSE YOU FACE A MINIMUM MANDATORY ONE-YEAR LICENSE LOSS AND MAY ALSO BE SUBJECT TO ADDITIONAL LICENSE LOSS IMPOSED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY. MORE INFORMATION.

 

HOLDERS OF COMMERCIAL DRIVERS LICENSE BEWARE:  DWI AND CERTAIN OTHER MOTOR VEHICLE CONVICTIONS, AS WELL AS REFUSING TO SUBMIT TO A CHEMICAL TEST WILL RESULT IN A LENGTHY REVOCATION OF YOUR CDL, EVEN IF YOU WERE NOT OPERATING A COMMERCIAL VEHICLE. DO NOT CONSIDER PLEADING GUILTY TO ANY MOTOR VEHICLE OFFENSE UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT EFFECT SUCH A PLEA MAY HAVE ON YOUR CDL. MORE INFORMATION

   

ADDITONAL (COLLATERAL) CONSEQUENCES

 

Other adverse collateral consequences over and above those imposed by the Court and the Department of Safety are attached to any DWI conviction. Many of these collateral consequences are not explained to you by the Court or the Department of Safety, but they will be applied to you anyway. Here are some of those consequences:

  • Criminal Record

You will have a criminal record of conviction for DWI, which is undesirable. A DWI conviction also makes you at risk of being charged, if you are arrested again, in this or any other State, with a 2nd offense DWI and its enhanced penalties, including a lengthy license loss and a mandatory jail sentence. In New Hampshire, a DWI conviction remains on your record for ten years (as of January 1, 2002).

  • PROOF OF INSURANCE REQUIRED

Conviction for DWI also requires your insurance carrier to file proof that you are insured with the NH Department of Safety for three years after your reinstatement. Your insurance rates will increase greatly for at least three years.

  • PROBATIONARY LICENSE

If you are convicted of DWI and have a New Hampshire license, upon reinstatement of your license, you will be issued a probationary license identifying you on its face as a DWI offender. You are then at risk, for the five-year period from the date of your restoration from the DWI conviction, of having your license administratively suspended for ninety to 180 days in addition to any other suspension in place if you either refuse to submit to testing or submit to a test with a result of 0.03 or more. You should note, however, that the legal limit for purposes of a DWI conviction remains the same; it is only 0.03 for the purpose of the administrative suspension.

  • POINTS VIOLATION

A DWI conviction adds six points to our NH motor vehicle record; you may face additional suspension for as few as twelve points.

  • HABITUAL OFFENDER

DWI is a major conviction for habitual offender purposes. You face a suspension of one to four years for as few as three major convictions over a five year period (based on the date of the offenses). Some minor offenses also count, but it takes four such minor convictions to equal one major.

  • ENHANCED ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION PERIODS

With a DWI conviction (or even a refusal) on your record within the previous ten years, the period of any subsequent ALS suspension increases to two years

  • IMMIGRATION AND EMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES

Conviction for a DWI or other alcohol-related offense may create immigration problems for the client who seeks to adjust his status to that of lawful permanent resident.  Such a conviction may thus affect the person's "admissibility" for immigration purposes.  Conviction of DWI or other alcohol-related offense may also negatively impact the client's prospects for becoming a naturalized citizen. Canada and other countries may prohibit persons convicted of DWI from entering their country at all.

  • POTENTIALLY LONGER LICENSE LOSSES FOR OUT-OF-STATE LICENSED DRIVERS

If you hold an out-of-state license and have a prior DWI record, you face suspension of your home state driver's license for a period of time that may greatly exceed the length of the court-imposed loss here in NH. Many states now have even longer look back periods than NH, with the result that convictions beyond ten years old may be used against you in your home state. Our neighboring state of Massachusetts now has a life-long look back period. Some states will impose a longer license loss on its license holders than NH does, even without a prior record. Connecticut is an example of such a state - a 90-day loss or your right to operate in NH will result in a one-year loss of your driver's license in Connecticut. ALL OUT-OF-STATE DRIVERS SHOULD CONSULT WITH COUNSEL IN THE STATE THEY HOLD A LICENSE IN ORDER TO DETERMINE THE LENGTH OF THE LOSS OF LICENSE THAT THEIR HOME STATE MAY IMPOSE BEFORE ENTERING A PLEA TO A NH DWI CHARGE OF ANY KIND - AT LOTHSTEIN LAW OFFICE LEGAL FEES INCLUDES THIRTY MINUTES OF FREE CONSULTATION WITH A MASSACHUSETTS LAWYER WHO IS EXPERT IN THE STATUTORY AND REGULATORY STRUCTURE OF MASSACHUSETTS DWI AND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW AND PRACTICE.

  • DRIVERS UNDER TWENTY-ONE FACE LONGER MANDATORY MINIMUM SUSPENSION FOR DWI.
    If you are under 21 at the time of your arrest, the Court must impose a minimum mandatory license loss of one year, and it has the power to revoke your license for up to two years. If you are under 20 at the time of the offense, you also face an additional revocation by the Department of Safety; that loss may vary between twenty and ninety days, depending upon your prior record. You are entitled to a hearing before the Department of Safety that might result in that revocation being held in abeyance if you meet certain criteria followed by the Department of Safety. You also will be required to petition the Department of Safety to consider the restoration of your license after the period of suspension is over.

  • DRIVERS HOLDING COMMERCIAL DRIVER'S LICENSES (CDL) FACE LONGER PENALTIES AND FACE OTHER RISKS NOT AFFECTING REGULARLY LICENSED DRIVERS
    If you hold a commercial driver's license and are convicted of DWI, even though you were not operating a commercial vehicle at the time, you face a longer revocation of your CDL license than the Court imposes for your conviction. If you have no prior DWI convictions, your CDL will be revoked for one year, or the period of time for which the Court revoked your license if that revocation is longer than one year. If you were to receive a ninety-day revocation for DWI in a non-commercial vehicle, you would suffer the loss of your CDL for one year; you would, however, be entitled to the restoration of your regular, non-commercial license at the end of the ninety days imposed by the New Hampshire court. If you are administratively suspended for refusing to submit to a chemical test, even in a non-commercial vehicle, you will lose your CDL for a period of one year. A second-offense DWI conviction or refusal will result in a lifetime loss of your CDL, and for CDL purposes, a DWI conviction remains on your record for your lifetime. If you have both a DWI and a refusal arising from two separate incidents, you also face a lifetime loss of your Commercial Driver's License. Any loss of your CDL may prove damaging to your employment as a commercial driver; over the years, I have represented commercial drivers who have told me that, although someone with a DWI conviction on his or her record may have had his or her CDL restored, it can, nevertheless, prove difficult to find or to continue employment as a commercial driver because of onerous reporting requirements imposed on employers by State and Federal law.

    Conviction of serious offenses other than DWI can also result in lengthy CDL suspensions regardless of whether you were driving a commercial motor vehicle. A single conviction for leaving the scene of an accident will result in a one-year suspension of your CDL, even if you receive no suspension of your New Hampshire operator's license as a result of the conviction itself. Should you have on your record a previous DWI, or conduct after an accident conviction, or a refusal to submit to a chemical test, you face loss of your CDL for life. You should not consider pleading guilty to a motor vehicle offense, whether you were driving a commercial motor vehicle or not, until you learn what the consequence to your CDL might be.


Other motor vehicle convictions, even for minor offenses, can result in a revocation of your CDL. If you are convicted of speeding, reckless driving, illegally changing lanes, following too close, and have as few as two previous similar offenses within a three-year period, you face the loss of your CDL for 120 days, even if you were operating a non-commercial vehicle at the time. Should you receive a license loss for one of the offenses listed immediately above, and you have one prior conviction for any of those offenses within the last three years, you will lose your CDL for 60 days.

The law on loss of the CDL is complicated and difficult to interpret, as it is based on a combination of New Hampshire and Federal statutes and regulations. Since the New Hampshire Department of Safety has not been administering these CDL suspensions for long, there is little settled law with regard to those matters which are not made clear by the language of those statutes and regulations. As a result, if you hold a CDL, you should check with a lawyer familiar with CDL law prior to entering a plea of guilty to any motor vehicle offense. If you are a commercial driver and are charged with a DWI, legal representation simply makes sense, as your livelihood depends on your CDL - do not lose it without first determining if you have a case that is defensible.

  • OTHER SPECIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR DRIVERS WITH SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

There are other special consequences for people in special circumstances, including pilots, air traffic controllers and others in sensitive positions. The complicated breadth and seriousness of collateral consequences, when coupled with the lack of any requirement that either the Court or the Department of Safety warn you of these consequences, leaves you unprotected and defenseless unless you consult with qualified DWI/DUI defense counsel.


Given all the consequences, direct and collateral, don't you think it wise to at least consult with a NH DWI/DUI defense attorney about your case? You may be surprised at what can be accomplished, and at Lothstein Law Office you will get our honest opinion of our prospects.


  • AND, PLEASE REMEMBER, IN NH, NO LICENSE MEANS NO LICENSE

The State of New Hampshire has no provision for a work license, an emergency license, a limited or restricted license, or any other means that allows you to drive a vehicle for any purpose during the period of suspension for either a DWI conviction or an Administrative License Suspension. If your New Hampshire driver's license is revoked, you may not operate in any State during until you are officially restored and have your license back. If New Hampshire revokes your right to operate in this State, you may not drive in New Hampshire until that right is officially restored. If you hold an out-of-state license you may be suspended in your home state until your right to operate is restored in New Hampshire.

 

OUT-OF-STATE DRIVERS
If you hold an out-of-state license and are convicted of DWI in New Hampshire, you will lose your out-of-state license. New Hampshire cannot revoke your license; it can only revoke your right to drive in this State. It will, however, notify the Motor Vehicle Department in your home state of your revocation here. Your State will then revoke your license as a result of the New Hampshire revocation. It will do so for the at least for the period that you are under revocation in New Hampshire, and it may revoke it for a longer period of time, depending on the normal revocation period in your home state and your prior record of DWI convictions there. You should check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles or an attorney licensed to practice in your home state and familiar with motor vehicle law. You may be given the opportunity for a hearing prior to the revocation. In addition, some states will revoke your license only upon conviction for DWI, while others may revoke it for the entire period that you are under revocation in New Hampshire, including the period of any administrative suspension.