New Hampshire & Felony DWIs
For most people, when they think of a convicted felon, they think of such nefarious characters as drug dealers, scam artists, child molesters, and murderers. However, a simple lapse in judgment by any motorist can immediately result in a felony arrest for a New Hampshire DWI if that motorist causes an accident resulting in serious injury after choosing to drink and drive.
A DWI can happen to almost anyone. Many adults (and a rather startling number of minors too!) choose to drink alcohol. Unfortunately, these individuals rarely engage in special precautions should they opt to have several drinks and operate an automobile.
What person has not thought that he or she could safely drive home without suffering from any consequences after feeling the inebriating effects of just a few drinks? While a small percentage of adults will defer driving responsibilities and allow someone else to drive their car, there are always those who decide to do otherwise.
The consequences of a DWI conviction within our state are harsh, even for first time, new offenders who have been stopped for weaving, speeding, or violation of another traffic law. For those facing a second DWI conviction, the penalties drastically increase with longer driver’s license revocation times, stiffer monetary fines, and mandatory prison time.
However, should you cause a serious accident that results in the death or injury of another person and are determined to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then the resulting implications can have a devastating effect on your life. In our state, a motorist can be charged with Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated resulting in bodily injury, which is considered a Class B felony and includes mandatory jail sentences and other considerable ramifications and penalties.
NH Felony DWI Penalties
Any motorist who is convicted of a felony DWI in New Hampshire can expect to spend time in jail. For a first time offense, a defendant faces a minimum of 21 days in jail up to a maximum sentence of 7 years. The first fourteen days of the sentence will be spent in the county’s local correctional facility, and the final 7 days are served in a multiple offender program (MOP), which can cost between $1,000.00 up to $2,000.00.
Since this offense is classified as a Class B felony, a New Hampshire court can impose a sentence of up to 7 years in prison. The decision will depend upon the particular circumstances surrounding the case, including the offender’s blood alcohol level, driving conduct, the injuries sustained by other parties, and whether or not the offender has a prior criminal history.
In New Hampshire, the monetary fine for a felony DWI conviction is, at a minimum, $1,000.00, but can go as high as $4,000.00. A defendant is also required to pay a 20% fee for penalty assessment.
A conviction will result in the loss of one’s driver’s license for a period of time ranging from 18 months to upwards of 2 years. Also at cost to them, the defendant will be required to attend a 24 hour Impaired Driver Intervention Program (IDIP). The period for which one’s driver’s license is suspended could be reduced by up to 6 months if reasonable cause and proof of attendance and participation in an intervention program is showed.
Depending upon the individual factors surrounding a case, an NH court could also require a defendant to attend and finish an alcohol or drug treatment program.
Furthermore, upon reinstatement of the defendant’s license, he or she must have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in any motor vehicle registered to, or regularly used, by the defendant. On average, each one of these devices will cost around $100.00 per month, which must be paid on a monthly basis for the entire duration the device is used.
To start the automobile, the motorist is required to blow into the small, handheld apparatus, which will prevent the vehicle from starting is the driver’s BAC levels are determined to be higher than .02%. Although it depends on a person’s body weight, this level is comparable to slightly more than one beer being consumed per hour. If the motorist’s BAC level registers over this limit, the data will be recorded and sent to law enforcement officials, who could opt to revoke the defendant’s driver’s license.
Felony DWIs & Collateral Consequences
For a person who has a criminal record, this less than desirable history can create a number of problems, particularly if the person has a felony conviction on their record. It can make it difficult for a person to obtain lines of credit, including student loans in the event that he or she decides to further their education.
Today, the majority of landlords perform background checks on prospective tenants, and it is highly likely that an individual who has a felony conviction on their record will have their housing application turned down. It is also a more well-known fact that employers conduct background checks on potential employees in order to remove convicted felons from the hiring pool. If an employee is a candidate for promotion, a background check may also be run.
While some individuals might be tempted not to disclose their felony DWI conviction, to choose not to divulge this information is a criminal offense, and a defendant could be charged with perjury.
For those who currently possess a professional license, or who are in the midst of applying for a license, a felony conviction will frequently prevent a person from receiving one, which could result in the loss of their professional status.
Furthermore, for a person convicted of a felony DWI, automobile insurance premiums will dramatically increase – often by thousands of dollars annually. The NH Department of Motor Vehicles will require that a defendant provide proof of insurance before the defendant’s driver’s license will be reinstated once the revocation period has been completed.
Retain an Experienced NH DWI Lawyer
A felony DWI is the most serious DWI related charge one can face. For this reason, a person who is facing these charges should not entrust their defense to an inexperienced attorney. Only highly skilled and competent legal representation can thoroughly analyze and explore each of the defenses that are available to a defendant.
This is where our New Hampshire DWI lawyers can step in to offer their assistance. For a free consultation regarding your case, please contact our law offices today.