Among the penalties for a DWI in New Hampshire is an automatic suspension of the defendant’s driver license. What many people do not realize, however, is that their driver license can be suspended without a conviction. The New Hampshire DWI attorneys of Tenn And Tenn, P.A. have more than 20 years’ experience defending drivers charged with DWI. If you are facing an Administrative License Suspension, one of our attorneys can help you fight the severe sanction of losing your driving privileges.
New Hampshire law prohibits most drivers from operating any kind of vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more. For drivers less than 21 years old, the limit is a .02 percent BAC, and the limit for commercial drivers is .04 percent.
The penalties for a New Hampshire DWI conviction vary depending on the circumstances. Fines range from $500 to $2,000, and jail time can range from no time served to seven years. Additionally, license suspensions range from six months to indefinite; however, unlike most other penalties for DUI, a conviction is not necessary to impose a license suspension. In fact, many people’s licenses are suspended automatically after arrest without any conviction, trial, or guilty plea.
When a police officer pulls over a person on suspicion of DWI, he may ask the person to submit to a sobriety test. If refused, the officer may consider this probable cause to arrest the driver. Once arrested, the police will ask the driver to submit to a breath or blood BAC test. At that point, there are three possible triggers of an automatic license suspension:
Any of these will result in an arrestee’s license being automatically suspended after 30 days. This suspension is called an administrative license suspension (ALS). The police will confiscate your license and give you a pink piece of paper that serves as a notice of suspension and a temporary driver license for the interim 30 days.
In the 30 days before the ALS takes effect, you have the right to request a hearing to determine if the license suspension is warranted. A hearing officer will play the role of a judge, and the ALS hearing will resemble a non-jury trial. The person suspected of DUI has the right to bring an attorney and present evidence to support his claim that the ALS should not be implemented. The hearing officer will make a decision after a few days, and the defendant can appeal the ruling.
Because the ALS is automatic after 30 days, it is critically important for a person accused of DWI to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Failure to request an ALS hearing will result in an automatic driver license suspension of at least six months, up to 2 years depending on your record.
Unlike other DWI/DUI penalties, suspension of the defendant’s driver license is allowed before a conviction, trial, or plea bargain. The New Hampshire DWI lawyers of Tenn And Tenn, P.A. have years of experience representing people at ALS hearings, and we will fight to protect your constitutional rights if you are facing the loss of your license. For a free telephone consultation, call (603) 624-3700 or fill out our online contact form.