Per Se DWI / DUI / OUI Charge
Under both NH DWI laws, and MA DUI / OUI laws, a person can be found guilty of drunk driving if they have a blood alcohol level of .08 or above. For those driving on a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) it is only .04 or above, and if you’re under 21 it is more strict, at .02 or above. A drunk driving charge under NH DWI laws and MA OUI laws is based strictly on your blood alcohol level, and is sometimes referred to as a per se DWI (or per se DUI / OUI). This basically means that the prosecutor only needs to prove that your alcohol level was at or above the legal limit, without having to show that you failed any of the field sobriety tests, or exhibited any other signs of being impaired by alcohol or drugs. This is an important distinction from other states, where a breath or blood result at or above the legal limit is only a presumption that can be rebutted. So if you’ve relocated from another state, don’t assume that NH DWI laws or MA DUI / OUI laws are the same.
DWI / DUI / OUI Charge Based on Being Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs & Your Ability to Drive
Under both NH DWI laws and MA DUI / OUI laws, aside from a per se DWI (or per se DUI / OUI), there is a second way that the prosecutor can prove the charges against you, which has nothing to do with your blood alcohol results. It has to do with being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the extent to which your ability to drive was affected by the alcohol and/or drugs. The standard for being found guilty is slightly different under both New Hampshire DWI laws and Mass DUI laws, but both are based on the fact that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
NH DWI Laws v. MA DUI / OUI Laws
In New Hampshire, the law provides that you need only be under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that it impairs your ability to drive to any degree.
In Massachusetts, the law provides that you need to be under the influence of a alcohol or drugs to the extent that your ability to drive safely is reduced.
Both states have harsh penalties, but based on the above, it is clear that NH DWI laws are tougher than MA OUI laws.
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