What’s a Vehicle for DWI Purposes in New Hampshire?

Spring is here and with it comes the bicycles, the ATVs, the boats, and the lawn mowers.  The lazy days of summer aren’t far behind during which you might mow the lawn in the morning and then take the boat out in the afternoon.  Or perhaps you want to enjoy the fresh air of a bike ride or head into the woods on your ATV.  It sounds great; but, depending on how many drinks you’ve had it could also lead to DUI/DWI charges. 

In New Hampshire, under Title XXI, Chapter 265-A, it is illegal to drive or attempt to drive a vehicle upon any way or operate or attempt to operate an OHRV (Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle) while the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and their alcohol concentration is 0.08 or higher.  If that person is under the age of 21, the blood alcohol level drops to 0.02.

Additionally, under the same law it is illegal for a person to operate or attempt to operate a boat under those same guidelines.

 New Hampshire Fish and Game oversee OHRVs, and they qualify these vehicles as being any mechanically propelled vehicle used off of a public way for recreational or pleasure purposes and dependent on the ground or other surface for travel.

As the law states, the DWI/DUI law also covers boating while intoxicated.  The definition of a boat includes any vessel propelled on the water by motor or sail.  This includes canoes and kayaks in addition to motorboats.

As for whether a bicycle or lawn mower is considered a vehicle, that’s where it becomes tricky.  There have been a handful of cases in the state in which someone has been charged with DWI when using a bicycle or driving a lawn mower on the road, but we are not aware of any that have lead to a conviction.  It should also be noted that bicycles and lawn mowers are not specifically outlined in the DWI/DUI laws, although they do appear listed as motor vehicles or equipment in other parts of New Hampshire state laws.

The consequences for driving or boating while intoxicated in NH can be harsh.  A first offense can mean a minimum $500 fine, attendance at an IDCMP, and loss of license for nine months to two years.  From there things increase, including jail time.

Those consequences also relate to using an ATV or other off-road vehicle under the influence.  And, when using those vehicles, you’re not only losing the privilege to drive your ATV, you’re losing your privilege to drive a car or, if you’re a commercial truck driver or bus driver, your privilege to drive those vehicles.

If you are accused of DUI in New Hampshire, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced  New Hampshire DWI defense attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. Our NH DUI attorneys will examine the circumstances of your arrest and will mount a strong defense on your behalf.  For more information, please call Tenn And Tenn today at (888) 332-5855.

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