Driving a motorcycle can be an exciting experience. The open road ahead of you, the wind billowing around you, it’s thrilling. But if you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, that freedom can be revoked quickly. Motorcycle riders across the state are more at risk for crashes than regular motor vehicle drivers. In fact, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation states that there are more than 1,000 motorcycle crashes alone – they are 26 times more likely to die in a traffic collision. Because motorcycles present a higher level of danger, New Hampshire is very specific about mitigating that threat. If you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI while operating a motorcycle, our experienced DUI attorneys can help.
What is a DUI/DWI?
In New Hampshire, driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or liquor is illegal – whether you are driving a car, a truck, a motorcycle, or even a boat. A person is “under the influence” if they’ve taken an intoxicating liquor or other controlled drug, prescription drug, over the counter drug, or any other chemical substance that impairs their ability to drive; or if they have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 if they are over 21 years old, or 0.02 if they are under 21 years old.
Motorcycle DWI Detection in New Hampshire
Law enforcement officers are trained to use a specific detection process to determine if a driver is potentially driving while impaired or driving under the influence. This detection process starts with recognizing a vehicle in motion and then observing if it does one of the following actions:
- Drifts while turning or curving;
- Has trouble dismounting;
- Has trouble balancing at a stop;
- Has problems turning – braking late, suddenly correcting the turn, etc.;
- Unusual behavior – disorderly conduct, carrying or dropping an object, etc.;
- Erratic movements while driving straight;
- Having no lights on at night;
- Recklessly driving;
- Following other cars too closely;
- Running a stop sign or traffic light;
- Evading others; or
- Going the wrong way.
If the law enforcement officer notices any of these actions or multiple actions at once, they can charge you with a DUI.
First Time Offender
For a first-time offender, the punishment for driving a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol could result in a Class B misdemeanor, a fine up to $1000, a revoked license for between 9 months and 2 years, and referral to an Impaired Driver Care Management Program. In this program, the driver will have to submit an alcohol and drug abuse screening within 14 days of their DUI conviction. The driver will also have to take an impaired driver education program at the Department of Health and Human Services in New Hampshire before their license will be restored. Additionally, if you are under 21 years old at the time of your arrest, your driver’s license will be revoked for one year, and you will also be expected to complete alcohol and drug treatment and counseling programs.
Second Time Offender
In New Hampshire, a second DUI offense carries with it much more severe punishments than those for a first-time offender. Your conviction is considered a Class A misdemeanor, and you will be required to pay a fine of $750, have to spend a minimum of 37 consecutive days in jail, license suspension for a minimum of three years, and potentially be ordered to attend an alcohol and drug treatment program. Additionally, the court may order an ignition lock device to be installed on your motorcycle (and any other vehicle you own) for up to two years after your license is reinstated.
If you receive your second DUI more than two years after your first, you will still be fined at least $750, and your license will still be suspended for a minimum of three years, but your mandatory prison sentence is lessened to 10 consecutive days. The court will decide if they want to order you to complete an alcohol or drug treatment program and whether an ignition interlock device should be installed on your vehicles. And remember, if you fail to complete any court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment program, you could be found in contempt of court and forced to serve a minimum of 30 days in prison.
Aggravated Drunk Driving
Depending on your blood alcohol content level, if an accident occurred while you were driving your motorcycle and you are suspected of driving under the influence, your charges could be escalated to aggravated drunk driving. Aggravated drunk driving is defined as follows:
- A person over 21 years old with a blood alcohol level of 0.08, or a person under 21 years old with a blood alcohol level of 0.02
- Who drove more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit,
- Caused a collision that resulted in serious bodily injury,
- Attempted to elude a law enforcement officer; or
- Carried a passenger under 16.
- Or if the person had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 or more.
First-time offenders who did not cause a collision will be subject to up to a year in prison and seven service days at a state-operated multiple DWI offender intervention detention center. In addition, the driver will have to pay a minimum $750 fine, and their license will be revoked for at least 18 months. They may also be ordered to complete an alcohol treatment program and counseling and submit to random drug tests.
If the driver did cause a collision that resulted in serious bodily injury to another person, the punishment is up to seven years in prison, plus seven days at a state-operated multiple DWI offender intervention detention center. They will also have to pay a minimum fine of $1,000, and their license will be revoked for at least 18 months.
If you or a loved one have been arrested and charged with a New Hampshire DUI for operating a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the DUI lawyers at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. can help. We have years of experience creating strategic defenses for our clients. Call today for a free consultation at (888) 332-5855, or visit us online.