Daniel Hynes

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Possible hardship license in the future

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If you are convicted of DWI in New Hampshire, there is presently no hardship license, work permit, cinderella license, etc. It does not matter how compelling your reason to drive is, you will fully lose your license during the suspension period. NH is finally considering to amend the statute to allow for a hardship license under certain conditions.

For New Hampshire First Time DWI Offenders, Restricted Use Licenses Could Become a Possibility

New legislation has been introduced in New Hampshire that could allow first-time DWI offenders to become eligible for restricted use licenses. New Hampshire is one of a handful of states in the United States that does not bestow limited driving privileges to motorists who have been convicted of DWI offenses.

The New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles has stated that NH is one of only five states that do not have established provisions for restricted use driver’s licenses following a first time conviction for DWI. The proposal is currently undergoing revisions and modifications before it will be presented to the state House. If it passes, a New Hampshire motorist who is convicted of a first time DWI offense will be allowed to operate a motor vehicle during specific hours and for limited purposes, such as attending school, going to and from medical appointments, and reporting to work.

The Pros and Cons of the Proposed Bill

The bill was introduced by Stephen Shurtleff, who is the Democratic House majority leader. The new legislation follows New Hampshire’s decision to implement stricter DUI sentencing laws in January. Law enforcement officers and the majority of House members appear to support the new proposal, with the caveat that it is applied to first-time offenders only.

The New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, supports the measure, arguing that the majority of first-time offenders in New Hampshire tend to be cured by “education”.  . Furthermore, supporters of this legislation cite the fact that the majority of New Hampshire residents reside in rural areas where access to public transportation is limited. If NH residents are going to maintain the ability to pay their mortgages, then they must be able to keep their jobs.

On the other hand, those who oppose the new proposal argue that the new legislation would negate the deterrent aspect that total license suspension creates. New Hampshire Department of Safety administrator, Christopher Casko, believes that total license suspension is the element of sentencing that creates the most deterrent effect. In his opinion, first-time offenders should be subjected to minimum suspension laws without the granting of any special privileges.

The Implications for New Hampshire Motorists

If you are New Hampshire motorist who has been convicted of a first-time DWI offense, then there is a possibility that you could become eligible for restricted use license in the near future. This type of license would enable you to drive to and from school, work, and other necessary appointments. NH residents who are concerned about having these motorists on the roadways should note that first-time offenders are rarely convicted of a second offense, and that the gravity of the convictions is not lost on the accused.

In the meantime, New Hampshire motorists who are facing a DWI charge are encouraged to contact our experienced NH DWI attorneys to ensure the best possible outcome for their case.

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Guest Saturday, 24 October 2020