New Hampshire DUI Laws

Under New Hampshire DUI laws, you could face aggravated charges even on a first offense including a $750 minimum fine, up to 2 years license suspension, and obtaining an SR22 form.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 9, 2020

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Here's what you should know...

  • New Hampshire drivers are not required to own car insurance, but they must obtain it if they are convicted of a DUI.
  • DUI or DWI consequences in New Hampshire include mandatory in-patient rehab, fines, license suspension, and possible jail time.
  • New laws from 2005 enforce stricter penalties and greater likelihood of being charged with aggravated DUI charges.
  • New Hampshire car insurance companies also take note of DUIs on your record and will increase rates or even drop your coverage

New Hampshire recognizes both driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI), although the terms are used interchangeably and the penalties are the same for both offenses. While New Hampshire focuses on rehabilitation as an important part of its drunk driving laws, that doesn’t mean that a driver who has been arrested for DUI will get off with just a slap on the hand.

There are consequences for driving while intoxicated in New Hampshire, whether the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of substances.

If you have a New Hampshire DUI and need cheap car insurance rates, check out quotes from local providers with our FREE tool above!

New Hampshire Implied Consent and Chemical Testing

A man testing a breathalyzer.

All US states plus the District of Columbia have “implied consent” laws, in addition to DUI insurance laws, in place that go into effect as soon as a driver is licensed. The implied consent law states that a driver must submit to a chemical test to determine BAC if so requested by a police officer.

New Hampshire law states that a driver over the age of 21 who has blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent or higher is driving under the influence.

For drivers under the age of 21, a BAC level of 0.2 percent is grounds for a DUI arrest.

If a driver refuses to submit to the test, the state in which he or she is a registered driver issues automatic penalties. In New Hampshire, the driver will lose his or her license for 180 days.

If the person previously refused a chemical test or has been convicted of a DUI within 10 years of the current refusal, his or her license would be suspended for two years.

Any additional license suspension subsequently imposed due to the current DUI offense would be added to the full suspension for refusal to take the chemical test.

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Being Stopped for DUI

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In New Hampshire, a driver can be stopped and charged with a DUI offense in one of two different ways. If a police officer observes the driver operating the vehicle erratically, the officer can pull over and charge the individual on the basis of field sobriety tests or physical appearance.

Some of the things a driver may be pulled over for include driving erratically, which can be reported to the police by another driver, although the officer needs to verify that the driver is indeed driving erratically before pulling over the driver.

An officer who observes that a driver involved in a traffic accident appears impaired can also test for intoxication.

In the other case, a driver who has already been stopped, whether for a traffic violation or probable cause, sobriety checkpoint, or roadblock, can be asked to submit to a chemical test even if he doesn’t show any signs of impairment.

DUI Penalties in New Hampshire

What happens when you get a DUI in NH? As is the case in most US states, New Hampshire has a three-tier system in place for handling the first DUI conviction, and for second, third and fourth convictions. Additionally, New Hampshire enacted laws in 2005 that added enhanced penalties for aggravated DUI.

Aggravated DUI refers to conditions which make the DUI charge even more serious.

These can include:

  • BAC of .16 percent or higher
  • Driving at least 30 miles over the posted speed limit
  • Trying to outrun or evade a police officer attempting to pull over the driver
  • Causing an accident that causes serious bodily injury
  • Driving drunk with a passenger under the age of 16

A driver who has never before committed a DUI offense can be convicted with an aggravated DUI charge.

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New Hampshire’s DUI Tiers

First DUI Conviction:

  • $350 minimum fine plus a 20 percent penalty fee up to $1,000
  • License suspension of 9 months to two years, although six months may be suspended

Aggravated DUI First Conviction:

  • $750 minimum fine
  • License suspension of 18 months to two years
  • Impaired Driver Intervention Program
  • Potential Alcohol and/or Drug Treatment and Counseling
  • Possible use of Ignition Interlock device

Second DUI Conviction:

  • Up to one-year jail sentence, with at least 10 days served consecutively
  • Mandatory seven-day inpatient treatment
  • Minimum fine of $500, maximum of $2,0000 with additional penalty assessment of $100 to $400
  • Minimum three years license suspension

Aggravated DUI Second Conviction:

  • Minimum seven-day inpatient treatment program could be as long as 28-day inpatient program
  • Minimum 30 days in jail
  • Possible use of ignition interlock device

Third DUI Conviction:

  • Up to one year served in jail
  • Mandatory 30-day in-patient treatment program
  • Minimum fine of $500, maximum of $2,000 with additional penalty assessment of 20 percent
  • Minimum five-year license suspension, with the of a seven-year suspension

Fourth DUI Conviction:

  • Similar to previous penalties
  • Felony conviction with a potential seven-year jail term

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License Suspension and Reinstatement in New Hampshire

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New Hampshire allows a driver facing suspension of his license to ask for an administrative hearing before the Bureau of Hearings before the suspension is put into effect.

If the license is suspended after the hearing occurs, there are no hardship exceptions. For example, a driver who must operate a vehicle as part of his job would not be allowed to continue, even if he were to lose his job as a result of the suspension.

Before his license can be reinstated at the end of the suspension, a driver convicted of DUI must attend Driver Improvement Training as well as drug or alcohol rehabilitation, as outlined in the penalties for DUI.

DUI Statistics in New Hampshire

In 2009, nearly 4,700 people were arrested for drunk driving in New Hampshire.

Of the 110 traffic fatalities in the state that year, 36 were alcohol related, almost one-third of the total number of deaths. 30 of the alcohol-related fatalities, or 27 percent, were due to accidents in which a BAC was measured of .08 percent or higher.

Since 1998, accidents in which alcohol played a role have decreased by almost 40 percent, according to national statistics.

While part of the reason for the reduction can be explained by safer vehicles, drunk driving awareness programs have also had an impact.

SR-22 Form and New Hampshire Car Insurance

New Hampshire is one of the states that require a driver convicted of a DUI to obtain SR-22 insurance to regain a driver’s license once the suspension has been lifted.

The SR-22 form must be filed when a driver convicted of DUI shows reinstates his license. The form is proof of car insurance.

New Hampshire requires drivers to carry this type of insurance for three years after his license is reinstated following the DUI conviction.

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How to Find Cheaper Car Insurance in NH after a DUI Conviction

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Car insurance is generally much more expensive for a driver convicted of DUI since he is now a higher risk for the insurance company. See if you can save on car insurance now with our FREE quote comparison search!

There are some things a driver can do to help lower the costs of car insurance after a DUI conviction:

  • Do careful comparison shopping on the internet.
  • Ask insurance companies for a price break if it’s a first DUI conviction.
  • Make sure to keep the insurance up to date.
  • Consider getting a car that’s less expensive to insure.
  • Do everything possible to avoid any kind of traffic violation during the 3-year period.

A DUI conviction is a serious matter, but it can be the wake-up call a driver might need to get help for a drinking problem or just to learn from the bad experience that getting behind the wheel with a buzz is wrong. A driver who takes these lessons to heart can emerge from the tough experience a safer and better driver.

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