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New Hampshire Drunk Driving Laws

New Hampshire

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in New Hampshire?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. In New Hampshire, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration measures .02 or more.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in New Hampshire

  • First-time offenders are subject to pay a fine of at least $500. These offenders must also successfully complete an impaired driver intervention program. The offender’s driver’s license will be revoked for nine months to two years. The judge may sentence the person to attend additional alcohol treatment and counseling. The judge may also require the offender to submit to random urinalysis or any other tests the judge finds appropriate.
  • A person who commits a second offense within 10 years of the first offense faces up to one year in prison, followed by seven days at a state-operated multiple DWI offender intervention detention center. If no space is available in the center, the offender will be assigned to a seven-day residential intervention program. Second-time offenders are also required to pay a fine of at least $750. The driver’s license revocation period is at least three years. The judge may sentence the offender to attend additional alcohol treatment and counseling. The judge may also require the offender to submit to random urinalysis or any other tests the judge finds appropriate.
  • A person who commits a third offense within a 10-year period is subject to all of the penalties applicable to second-time offenders. These offenders, however, must serve at least 180 days in a county correctional facility, followed by at least 28 days in a residential treatment program or an intensive course of substance abuse treatment. Additionally, the offender’s driver’s license will be revoked indefinitely. The offender may petition the court for eligibility to re-apply for a driver’s license after five years.
  • A person who commits a fourth DWI within a 10-year period is subject to all of the penalties applicable to second and third-time offenders, except that these offenders cannot petition the court for eligibility to re-apply for a driver’s license for seven years.

Enhanced Penalties for Aggravated Drunk Driving

A person 21 and older is guilty of aggravated driving while intoxicated if his or her BAC measures .08 or more, or in the case of a person under 21, if his or her BAC measures .02 or more, and, at the time of the offense, the person was driving at a speed of more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit; caused a collision that resulted in serious bodily injury; attempted to elude a law enforcement officer; or carried a passenger under 16. A person is also guilty of aggravated DWI if he or she drives with a BAC of .16 or more. Penalties are as follows:

  • First-time offenders who did not cause a collision that resulted in serious bodily injury to another face up to one year in prison, followed by service of seven days at a state-operated multiple DWI offender intervention detention center. If no space is available in the center, the offender will be assigned to a seven-day residential intervention program. The offender will also be subject to pay a fine of at least $750. Driving privileges will be revoked for 18 months to two years. The judge may sentence the offender to additional alcohol treatment and counseling. The judge may also require the offender to submit to random urinalysis or such other test as the judge finds appropriate.
  • An offender who caused a collision that resulted in serious bodily injury to another faces up to seven years in prison, followed by service of seven days at a state-operated multiple DWI offender intervention detention center. If no space is available in the center, the offender will be assigned to a seven-day residential intervention program. The offender will also be subject to pay a fine of at least $1,000. Driving privileges will be revoked for 18 months to two years.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with New Hampshire’s DWI laws, a commercial driver who is convicted of DWI while operating a commercial vehicle will have his or her commercial driver’s license suspended for at least one year. If, however, the offender was driving a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials at the time, the suspension period is three years. A commercial driver who commits a second DWI while driving a commercial vehicle will have his or her commercial license suspended for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of 10 years.

Drivers Under 21

A person under 21 who is convicted of DWI or aggravated DWI faces the same penalties as an adult offender, except that the minor’s driver’s license, regardless of the offense, will be revoked for at least one year. Additionally, an underage offender may be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle registered to the offender or used by the offender on a regular basis until he or she reaches 21 or for at least 12 months, whichever period is longer.

Ignition Interlock

Any person whose license has been revoked or suspended for an aggravated DWI or for a second or subsequent DWI may be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle registered to that person or used by that person on a regular basis after the revocation or suspension period expires for six months to two years.

What is New Hampshire’s Dram Shop Statute?

Under New Hampshire law, a drinking establishment that negligently serves alcohol to a minor or to an intoxicated person may be liable for resulting injuries suffered by another person. The person who becomes intoxicated may not bring an action for negligent service of alcoholic beverages against the drinking establishment for injuries he or she may have suffered because of his or her own intoxication. An intoxicated person may, however, bring an action for personal injuries against the drinking establishment for “reckless service” of alcoholic beverages. Under this part of New Hampshire’s Dram Shop Statute, service is “reckless” when the establishment intentionally serves alcohol to a person when the server knows, or a reasonable person should have known, that such service creates an unreasonable risk of physical harm to the drinker or to others.

Criminal Liability for Selling or Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor

It is a crime to sell or furnish alcohol to a person under 21. Individuals who violate this law face up to one year in prison and may be subject to pay a fine of up to $2,000. Licensed drinking establishments that violate this law face suspension of liquor licenses, forfeiture, administrative fees, and criminal penalties, including a fine of up to $100,000.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

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