New Hampshire Third Offense DWI Lawyer

It is important for a person to have a New Hampshire DWI lawyer following a third DWI charge because a person gets two shots at trying to beat a third offense conviction. After a District Court trial has come to a conclusion of a conviction, the attorney and defendant can appeal to the Superior Court for a new trial.

The third offense DWI charges in New Hampshire start in the district court and the person who is accused has a bench trial, meaning a trial before a judge. If the defendant is found not guilty by the judge, then they are free. If, however, the individual is convicted by the judge in the district court, they have a right to a trial de novo in the superior court in front of a jury.

Penalties for a Third-Offense DWI

A third-offense DWI charge in New Hampshire is considered a class A misdemeanor and entails a mandatory loss of license for a minimum of five years. Drivers convicted of third-offense DWI in New Hampshire also face up to $2,000 in fines, up to a year in jail, and an additional two years of probation.

New Hampshire law requires that drivers convicted of third-offense DWIs be sentenced to at least 180 days in jail. A judge can suspend all but 30 days of the sentence, but drivers convicted of third-offense DWI typically spend at least 30 days in jail.

After a third-offense DWI conviction, drivers will likely be required to obtain special insurance when their license is reinstated and they get out of jail. They could also be required to attend an alcohol education program such as the Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP) and have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.

Aggravating Factors

In New Hampshire, there is a ten-year look-back period for DWI convictions. If a driver has any convictions that have happened within the ten years preceding this arrest, the most recent arrest would be treated as a DWI-subsequent offense. Post-arrest bail paperwork for subsequent drunk driving arrests before the 10 year period is over will include notations such as DWI-SUB to indicate some evidence of at least one prior conviction on the driver’s record.  It is important to realize that these records are not always correct and that state prosecutors must prove all prior offenses.

Minor in the Vehicle

The penalties an individual will face if a minor was in the vehicle depends on whether they took a breath test or not. If they took a breath test and are suspended for that, the New Hampshire DMV will suspend a person for two years for that alone. That would run concurrently with the court suspension. If they refuse the chemical test, it is added on to the court sentence.

Challenging License Suspension

It is possible for a driver to have their two-year administrative suspension reversed if they are not convicted. There is a separate proceeding that the individual is entitled to have at the DMV where they can challenge their license suspension. This only happens early on in the case.

An individual must apply for this within 30 days of their arrest. There are some cases where a driver might prevail at the administrative hearing and not in the courtroom or vice versa, but the DWI case against the driver must be quite weak to prevail at the Bureau of Hearings. Furthermore, there are mistakes the police can make during the hearing process that may make it worthwhile to challenge the administrative suspension. Know that a professional New Hampshire third-offense DWI lawyer can help to uncover these mistakes.

Potential Defenses Against DWI Charges

There are several defenses available to drivers accused with third-offense DWI charges, though it can be more difficult to employ a viable defense to a third-offense charge. This is another reason why it is often critical for drivers facing a third-offense DWI to work with a reliable New Hampshire third-offense DWI attorney.

If a driver registers a BAC level over the legal limit, a dedicated New Hampshire third-offense DWI lawyer may be able to challenge the validity of the BAC results. In certain situations, the breathalyzer equipment may malfunction, or the driver themselves could have created an inaccurately high rating due to medical conditions, such as acid reflux disease or anything that causes a higher body temperature.

Importance of a New Hampshire Third Offense DUI Attorney

It is important to have a local attorney experienced in defending third offense drunk driving charges because they would know what is important to that judge as a fact-finders. A local attorney will know the answer to the following questions because of prior experience with the way that the given judge rules.

  • Does this judge put a lot of weight on the field sobriety testing?
  • Does this judge put on a lot of weight on the fact that the person refused the breath test or not?

It is also important to know judges’ sentencing practices to realistically analyze any plea offer made by the prosecutor.