For over two decades, the various states have passed legislation that gradually stiffens penalties for DWI. Every DWI in New Hampshire is now a criminal offense. All forms of DWI carry mandatory license suspensions, fines and alcohol education/treatment programs upon conviction. From a time in the not-so-distant past when .10 was the standard, we are down to .08, and in the case of under-21 drivers, .02. Records of convictions now remain in tact for 10 years instead of seven (7). And without a doubt, bills encouraging stricter laws are on the horizon.
Hidden Cost: The Administrative License Suspension (ALS)
In addition – and what many people do not realize – is that for virtually every DWI arrest, an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) is issued by the Department of Safety/ DMV. In most cases, this suspension takes effect within 30 days of your arrest. The theory behind the ALS is that drivers need to be taken off the road swiftly without regard to the result in the DWI; the practical effect can be devastating, resulting in suspensions that exceed the court-imposed suspension by as much as two (2) years in some cases. This process is swift and cannot be ignored. We immediately institute an appeal on your behalf and make an all-out effort to prevent this from happening.
Loss of License
For most people, the highest priority is eliminating or limiting the loss of license. A first offender faces a 9-month loss of license on the DWI conviction alone (not including the ALS), with the exception of those under the age of 21, who stand to lose their licenses for a minimum of one year, exclusive of the ALS. Subsequent offenders face minimum penalties of 3 years and more, depending on the number of prior convictions they have incurred. Our highest priority is getting and keeping you on the road. New Hampshire has no drive-to-work licenses, which makes this aspect of our work even more critical.
Part of the emphasis on DWI enforcement in this area is the increasing use of committed jail time. Once reserved only for repeat offenders, jail time can now be imposed in cases of Aggravated DWI. Additionally, those charged with consecutive DWI’s that occur within 2 years of one another now face 30 day sentences. As always, subsequent offenders whose arrests occur outside the 2-year window face a lock up total of 10 days between jail and the Multiple Offender Program. In these instances, we work to keep you out of jail, first and foremost. Where a high blood alcohol reading results in an Aggravated DWI charge, our 34-year history gives us the experience to analyze and challenge it. And with subsequent offenses, charges can be fought or sentences structured so that no jail time is imposed.
We help you preserve your record. DWI convictions remain on your license for 10 years. Every time an officer stops you, he or she will know you have been convicted of DWI. Your DMV record will reflect the fact that you have been convicted of a criminal charge. We work to prevent all of this from happening by seeking reductions in charges and penalties. At times, this means an amendment long after the case has come to a completion. We stick with you to achieve optimum results.