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New Hampshire DWI License Suspensions



IMPLIED CONSENT – Any person who drives, operates, or attempts to operate a vehicle or boat in the state is deemed to have given consent to physical tests and examinations for the purpose of determining whether such person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled drugs. Chemical testing of the person’s breath, blood, and/or urine may be conducted upon persons arrested for DWI. The tests must be administered at the direction of a police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe the person was DWI. The officer must inform the person of his/her right to additional testing and the consequences of the person’s refusal to submit to chemical testing. The fact that a person refused testing is admissible evidence. Persons who are dead, unconscious or otherwise incapable of refusing are deemed to not have withdrawn consent to chemical testing.

CHEMICAL TEST REFUSAL – Persons who refuse to submit to chemical testing will not be required to take a test; however, the person’s driver’s license will be suspended in accordance with the penalties below.

COMMERCIAL DRIVERS – Following an arrest for DWI in New Hampshire, commercial driver’s who refuse chemical testing, and those who submit to a chemical test that reveals a BAC result of .04 or higher will have their driving privileges suspended.

ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION PENALTIES

FIRST OFFENSE REFUSAL – 180 day license suspension (1 year for commercial drivers)

FIRT OFFENSE ILLEGAL BAC – 6 months license suspension

REFUSAL WITH PRIOR DWI CONVICTION/REFUSAL – 2 year license suspension (10 year license suspension for commercial drivers)

SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE ILLEGAL BAC (WITH PRIOR REFUSAL OR DWI CONVICTION) – 2 year license suspension

**NOTE – If a person’s license or privilege to drive is suspended for a BWI offense, the person’s privilege to operate a boat on the waters of the state will also be suspended for the same period of time.

ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION PROCESS

Persons who refuse chemical testing or submit to a chemical test that reveals a BAC of .08 or higher (or .02 or higher if under 21) will have their driver’s license suspended in accordance with the penalties listed above. The officer will serve a notice of suspension on the person, which will take effect 30 days following the date of service. The officer will confiscate the person’s driver’s license and send it, along with a report, to the department. Persons who submitted to chemical testing that does not immediately give a result will be mailed a notice of suspension once the test results are obtained. Each person served with a notice of suspension will also be given a temporary driving permit that will remain valid for 30 days. Persons who are arrested with an out-of-state driver’s license will not be required to surrender their license; however, their privilege to drive within the state will be suspended.

ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW PROCESS

Any person whose license is suspended or revoked may request either an administrative review or a hearing to contest the license suspension. The request must be in writing, stating the grounds upon which the person seeks to have the order of suspension or revocation rescinded. A request for either administrative review or hearing must be received by the department within 30 days from the date the notice of suspension is issued. Failure to timely make a request for a review or hearing will result in the waiver of the right to review.

ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – If a person wishes to request an administrative review, the request may be accompanied by any statement or other evidence which the person wants the department to consider. Upon receiving the request the department will review the order, the evidence upon which it is based, including whether the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, and any other information. The department will determine whether sufficient cause exists to sustain the order.

ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING – If the person requests a hearing, the request will indicate whether or not the person desires to have the law enforcement officer present. The hearing will be held within 20 days after the filing of the request (unless the person requests a continuance). The hearing will be recorded, and be conducted by an agent of the department. If the presence of the officer is not requested, the hearing may be conducted upon a review of the officer’s report. If an officer requested to appear fails to appear without showing good cause, the case will be dismissed and the order will be rescinded. Any person who requests a hearing that fails to appear will have their license suspension automatically sustained.

The scope of the administrative review or hearing must be limited to the following issues:

(a) Whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the arrested person had been driving, attempting to drive, or was in actual physical control of a vehicle, boat, or OHRV while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotics, or drugs;
(b) The facts upon which the reasonable grounds to believe such are based;
(c) Whether the person had been arrested;
(d) Whether the person has refused to submit to the test upon the request of the law enforcement officer or whether a properly administered test or tests disclosed an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more (or 0.02 or more if under 21);
(e) Whether the officer informed the arrested person of his or her right to have a similar test or tests conducted by a person of his or her own choosing; and
(f) Whether the officer informed the arrested person of the fact that refusal to permit the test would result in suspension of his or her license or driving privilege and that testing above the alcohol concentration level would also result in suspension.

The hearing examiner’s determination following a hearing or review will be issued within 15 days. The examiner’s determination will be a recommendation of whether the license suspension should be upheld or overturned. The recommendation will be final unless a review or appeal is filed within 10 days. The person whose license has been suspended or the law enforcement officer may request a review of the ruling from the director. The review will determine whether the ruling is erroneous as a matter of law or cannot be sustained by the facts as presented at the hearing. After a review of the ruling, the director will issue a finding within 10 days either affirming the ruling or granting a new hearing. Any grant of a new hearing will also contain a statement of why the suspension should not be sustained.

The person whose license has been suspended may appealto the superior court in the county where the arrest occured to review the final order by the director. The request for appeal must be made in writing within 30 days of the date of the final order.

PROBATIONARY LICENSE – DWI offenders must apply to have their license reissued following a suspension or revocation. Such driver’s are considered “at risk” drivers. The license they obtain will be a probationary license for at least 5 years following the date of reissuance. Persons who drive with a BAC of .03 or higher will be guilty of a per se violation of a probationary license. The penalty for a per se violation is 90 – 180 day license suspension. If the police have reasonable cause to believe a probationary driver has a BAC of .03 or higher, but the person refuses to submit to chemical testing to confirm the suspicion, then the driver will have his/her license suspended for a period of 90 days.