NH Penalties for DWI 1st Offense

Penalities1st Offense DWI*
JailNone
Fine$500 min. to $1200
License Suspension9 to 24 months (6 months may be suspended by Court)**
Ignition Interlock RequiredPossible
Insurance/SR22Required prior to license reinstatement
Alcohol & Drug ScreenRequired to regain license early, if you are Under 21, or if traveling with someone Under 16
Full Alcohol & Drug Evaluation / Substance Abuse PlanEvaluation possible after initial Alcohol & Drug Screen, with possible need to do Substance Abuse Plan
DWI School (20 Hours)Required for 1st Offense to regain license, if Under 21, or if Traveling with someone Under 16**

*Penalties for DWI 1st Offense:   may be reduced to a Violation Offense (Non-Criminal Offense) after 1 yr
**Under 21 DWI penalties require a mandatory 1 yr DL suspension (no reduction)

As you can see above, the penalties for a NH DWI 1st offense are substantial.  Fortunately, the drunk driving penalties for a first offense, with no aggravating circumstances, don’t include jail time.  You will still have a mandatory minimum $500 fine, minimum 9 month suspension of your driver’s license, alcohol and drug screen, and DWI school.  In addition to the above penalties for DWI 1st Offense, the Court may impose additional alcohol or drug treatment, random urinalysis, and an ignition interlock.

Under 21 DWI Penalties

The under 21 DWI penalties for drunk driving require a full 1 yr suspension be served on the Court imposed driver’s license suspension.  This can be a significant hardship for the typical under 21 offender, who is a student that drives to school, or someone who drives to work.  Keep in mind that someone under 21 need only have a blood alcohol level of .02 or above.  For some, depending on weight and gender, this can be as little as one drink.  See our BAC Calculator.  Because of the harsh nature of under 21 DWI penalties for drunk driving, it is important to have your case properly reviewed by a qualified attorney.

Additional Penalties for DWI 1st Offense:  Administrative License Suspension

Aside from the standard NH penalties for DWI 1st offense, the DMV will most likely impose an administrative license suspension, which is separate from the criminal DWI suspension you’ll receive if you’re convicted in the criminal case.  If you took the breathalyzer or blood test, then the administrative license suspension will be concurrent (run at the same time) with the suspension in the criminal case.  If you refused the breathalyzer or blood test, then the administrative license suspension will be tacked onto whatever DWI suspension you received in the criminal case.

1st Time Alcohol Level Above Legal Limit:  180 day suspension
1st Refusal to take the Breath or Blood Test:  180 day suspension

So if you refused the breathalyzer, and your license suspension in the criminal case is 3 months (90 days), and the administrative suspension is for 180 days, then the total suspension will be 180 days + 90 days, for a total of 270 days.  However, if you took the breathalyzer or blood test, and you went over the legal limit, then the license suspension would only be for 180 days.

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