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New Hampshire’s Sobering DWI Statistics

How is New Hampshire shaping up for DWI crackdown and decreases in the overall number of fatalities? Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly news.

The good… the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2007-2008, showed a 9.7% reduction in drunken driving fatalities in the United States. Even better, early reports for 2009-2010 look more promising.

The bad… even though total cases of DWI declined in that period, New Hampshire showed a 32.4% increase in DWI-caused fatalities. In 2007, 34 people died in alcohol related car crashes, and in 2008, there were 45 DWI-related deaths. This news comes according to the Century Council – an organization of distillers dedicated to fighting drunk drivers.

The ugly… also according to the previously mentioned report, even though underage DWI deaths declined across the U.S. during 2007 and 2008, New Hampshire experienced nearly a 300% spike in deaths resulting from impaired drivers in the 16- to 20-year-old population.

Although this is alarming, this percentage is slightly misleading. New Hampshire is a small state (population of 1.3 million) and only 8 underage drivers and/or passengers died in 2008, and 3 in 2007. However, these statistics show trends and the public should be cautious; one death is too many.

Fines and Penalties in New Hampshire

New Hampshire has been proactive in trying to lower DWI-fatality rates with harsh fines and a low tolerance for drunk driving. Here is a sampling of the fines and penalties one can expect if caught driving while intoxicated in New Hampshire:


  • First Offense — $500 minimum fine plus 24% penalty totaling $620; suspended license for nine months; completion of impaired driver intervention program.
  • Second Offense (if within 2 years of previous DWI conviction) – $750 fine plus 24% penalty totaling $930; minimum of 30 days in jail; three-year minimum suspended license; 12-month period requiring ignition interlock device on vehicles.
  • Third Offense — $750 minimum fine; minimum of 180 days in jail; 28-day minimum stay at a residential treatment program; license suspended indefinitely. Punishment is greater if convicted of Aggravated DWI, such as driving 30 mph over the speed limit; causing an accident resulting in serious injury; attempting to flee a law enforcement officer; driving with a passenger 16 years or younger; or having a blood alcohol level (BAC) of.16 or higher.


New Hampshire Blood Alcohol Levels (BAC) Defined

You are considered a DWI case if you have a BAC of.08 or higher; if you are under 21 with a BAC rate of.02 or higher; or if you driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of.04 or higher. It can often be difficult to know how alcohol will impact your blood alcohol level, so the safest option is to not drive if you plan to drink. Arrange for a designated driver or call a taxi service.

If you are arrested for a DWI, however, you do have certain rights. Call a DWI lawyer as soon as possible who has experience dealing with DWI laws in New Hampshire. You want an attorney that understands NH DWI laws inside and out; knows the technical aspects of the Intoxilyzer 5000 (a breathalyzer test), one who knows how to keep you out of jail, and one that can work to prevent your license suspension. criminal defense


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