New Hampshire has strict laws regarding driving under the influence (DUI). Learn more about a DUI charge, the consequences of a conviction, and safety tips to prevent the dangers.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime in New Hampshire, as it is in all states. DUI laws are designed to prevent people from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as this can lead to dangerous and potentially deadly situations. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive introduction to DUI laws in New Hampshire, including the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits, the consequences of a DUI conviction, and some tips for avoiding a DUI charge.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
Let’s start with the legal BAC limits in New Hampshire. The state follows a “per se” law, which means that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. This is the standard BAC limit in all 50 states. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, commercial drivers in New Hampshire are subject to a lower BAC limit of 0.04%, and drivers under the age of 21 are subject to a “zero tolerance” limit of 0.02%. (It’s worth noting that you can be charged with a DUI in New Hampshire even if your BAC is below the legal limit. If a police officer determines that you are impaired due to alcohol or drugs, you can still be charged with a DUI. This is known as a “less safe” DUI, and it is based on the officer’s observations of your behavior, such as slurred speech, difficulty standing or walking, or an inability to follow instructions.)
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
So, what happens if you are charged with DUI in New Hampshire? The consequences of a DUI conviction can vary depending on the circumstances of your case, but they can be quite severe.
First-Time DUI Offense
For a first-time DUI offense, you may face up to $500 in fines, up to two years of probation, and up to one year in jail. You may also be required to attend alcohol education classes, and your driver’s license may be suspended for nine months.
Second DUI Offense
If you are charged with a second DUI offense within two years of your first offense, the consequences become more severe. You may face up to $750 in fines, up to two years of probation, and up to two years in jail. Your driver’s license may be suspended for two years, and you may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. An IID is a breathalyzer device that prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has a BAC above a certain level.
Third DUI Offense
If you are charged with a third DUI offense within three years of your first offense, you may face up to $1,500 in fines, up to three years of probation, and up to three years in jail. Your driver’s license may be suspended for three years, and you will be required to install an IID on your vehicle. (It’s worth noting that these consequences can be even more severe if you cause an accident while driving under the influence, or if you have a particularly high BAC. In some cases, you may also be required to pay restitution to any victims of the accident. In addition to the criminal consequences of a DUI conviction, there can also be significant non-criminal consequences. For example, a DUI conviction can cause your insurance rates to increase significantly, and it can also make it more difficult to find employment or housing.)
Safety Tips to Avoid a DUI
Given the serious consequences of a DUI conviction, it’s important to do everything you can to avoid being charged with a DUI in the first place. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe on the road:
- Plan Ahead: Before you go out, make sure you have a designated driver or a plan to get home safely. This could include calling a taxi or using a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft.
- Don’t drink and drive: This may seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating. If you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel. The risks simply aren’t worth it.
- Be cautious about mixing alcohol with prescription medication: Some prescription medications can have dangerous interactions with alcohol. If you’re taking any prescription medication, be sure to read the label carefully and follow your doctor’s instructions.
- Know your limits: It’s important to be aware of how much alcohol you can safely consume. This can vary depending on your age, weight, and gender, among other factors. If you’re not sure how much is safe for you, it’s best to be on the cautious side and have fewer drinks.
- Don’t ride with a driver who has been drinking: If you’re a passenger in a car with a driver who has been drinking, it’s important to speak up and insist that they find a sober driver. You could be putting your life, as well as the lives of others, at risk by getting in the car with a drunk driver.
In conclusion, driving under the influence is a serious crime in New Hampshire, and the consequences of a DUI conviction can be severe. To avoid being charged with a DUI, it’s important to plan ahead, avoid drinking and driving, be cautious about mixing alcohol with prescription medication, know your limits, and never ride with a driver who has been drinking. By following these tips, you can help keep yourself and others safe on the road.