New Hampshire law prevents any person under the age of 21 from possessing or consuming alcohol. This law is known as NH's "Minor in Possession of Alcohol", Underage Intoxication", or "Internal Possession" law. And, although it may be known by many names, the message is clear—zero tolerance for minors who possess or consume alcohol in NH.
A Minor convicted of underage possession of alcohol or intoxication faces a myriad of fines and penalties. A first offense carries a minimum $300 fine, up to a $1,000 fine. In addition to the statutory fine, prosecutors or judges will often refer the minor to an alcohol education or alcohol awareness class. Of significant importance, and not explicitly set-forth in RSA 179l10, is the additional penalty of loss of license.
NH RSA 263:56-b "Revocation or Denial for Drugs or Alcohol Involvement" authorizes revocation of the driver's license or privilege to drive of any minor convicted of possessing alcohol or controlled drugs in New Hampshire. A first time conviction may result in a minimum of 90 days and up to a maximum of 1 year loss of license. A second conviction may result in a 6 month to 2 year loss of license.
If you have been charged as a minor in possession of alcohol in NH, it is important to immediately consult with a NH criminal defense attorney who can review your alcohol related charge and discuss your best course of action. The NH criminal defense attorneys at Tenn AND Tenn, P.A., in Manchester have significant experience defending minors charged with alcohol possession. Many of our clients are students at NH's boarding schools and colleges. We are here to help. Call us today on our Toll Free Help Line at 1-888-511-1010 for a free telephone consultation to discuss your Minor in Possession of Alcohol charge.
I. Except as provided in RSA 179:23, any person under the age of 21 years who has in his or her possession any liquor or alcoholic beverage, or who is intoxicated by consumption of an alcoholic beverage, shall be guilty of a violation and shall be fined a minimum of $300. Any second and subsequent offense shall be fined at least $600. For purposes of this section, alcohol concentration as defined in RSA 259:3-b of .02 or more shall be prima facia evidence of intoxication. No portion of this mandatory minimum fine shall be waived, continued for sentencing, or suspended by the court. In addition to the penalties provided in this section, the court may, in its discretion, impose further penalties authorized by RSA 263:56-b.
II. Except for persons convicted on the basis of intoxication, any person under the age of 21 years convicted of unlawful possession of liquor or beverage shall forfeit the same, and it shall be disposed of as the court directs. The proceeds, if any, shall be paid into the treasury of the county in which the proceedings were determined.
I. Any person who is not yet 21 years of age on the date of the incident, who is convicted, found to be delinquent under RSA 169-B, or found to be in need of services under RSA 169-D, for any offense involving the sale, possession, use, or abuse of alcohol or of controlled drugs as defined in RSA 318-B:1, VI, or of a controlled drug analog as defined under RSA 318-B:1, VI-a, may at the discretion of the court be subject to the revocation or denial of a driver's license or privilege to drive for not less than 90 days but not more than one year on the first finding or conviction under this paragraph, and not less than 6 months but not more than 2 years for a subsequent finding or conviction. Nothing in this section shall prevent the court from requiring any person subject to its provisions from successfully completing any alcohol or substance abuse education program in lieu of a loss or denial of driving license or privilege. The director, upon receipt of a notification from the court that the court has ordered the suspension of a person's license or driving privilege pursuant to this paragraph, shall forthwith issue a formal order of suspension and, in the case of denial of an application for a license, the period imposed shall begin on the date the person is eligible by age for the issuance of a license. Notwithstanding RSA 169-B:35 or any other law regarding confidentiality, any court which convicts or makes a finding that an offense described in this section has occurred involving a person who meets the age limits specified in this section shall forward a notice of such conviction or finding to a director. The director shall maintain the confidentially of notices received.
II. The director shall, unless otherwise ordered by the court, revoke the driver's license or privilege to drive or deny an application for a license for not less than 90 days but not more than one year on the first finding or conviction under Paragraph I, and not less than 6 months but not more than 2 years for a subsequent finding or conviction; provided, however, that the director shall not revoke or deny a license or privilege to drive under this Paragraph without first giving the person an opportunity for a hearing to determine that the person is the individual who was convicted of the offense and against whom the court order applies. In the case of denial of an application for a license, the period imposed shall begin on the date the person is eligible by age for the issuance of a license.
III. Any person who is not yet 18 years of age on the date of the incident, and who is convicted, found to be delinquent under RSA 169-B, or found to be in need of services under RSA 169-D, for the offense of sale or possession with intent to sell controlled drugs as defined in RSA 318-B:1, VI or a controlled drug analog as defined under RSA 318-B:1, VI-a, shall be subject to revocation or denial of a driver's license or privilege to drive for a mandatory period of at least one year and a maximum period of up to 5 years. In the case of denial of an application for a license under this section, the period imposed shall begin on the date the person is eligible by age for the issuance of a license.
IV. The driver's license of any person who is 18 years of age or older on the date of the incident, and who is convicted of the offense of sale or possession with intent to sell controlled drugs as defined in RSA 318-B: 1, VI or a controlled drug analog as defined under RSA 318-B:1, VI-a, may be revoked, at the discretion of the court, for any period of time, including for life. The court of relevant jurisdiction shall have the discretion to determine when the revocation shall begin.