New Hampshire DWI Laws
SHOULD I TAKE THE BREATHALYZER OR BLOOD TEST?
Once someone learns that I am a New Hampshire Criminal Defense attorney, they will ask me a variation of this question “Should I blow?”
What they, and everyone else who drinks alcohol, wants to know is whether they should refuse a breathalyzer or blood test if arrested for DWI.
My answer? It depends!
Sure, a lot of lawyers out there will tell you flat out to refuse every time. But without understanding the consequences of a refusal, that advice could still land you in a bad spot. In the end, there is no straightforward answer and the purpose of this blog is to help you understand some of the considerations in deciding whether to refuse or consent to breath testing or blood testing if arrested for DWI
WHAT FACTORS SHOULD I CONSIDER BEFORE REFUSING OR CONSENTING TO A BREATH TEST OR BLOOD TEST?
The list is seemingly endless. Did you drink? If so, how much, and how quickly? How long has it been since your last drink? Did you eat anything? How much did you eat? When did you eat? How much do you weigh? Can I afford to lose my license for 6-24 months if I refuse?
Beware if you have a high tolerance for alcohol! While tolerance won’t impact your blood alcohol content (BAC), it will impact whether or not you feel your BAC. If you feel fine but that’s only because you have a high tolerance, you could be testing yourself right into a class A misdemeanor with a lengthy license loss and mandatory jail time!
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES IF I REFUSE A BREATH TEST OR BLOOD TEST?
If you refuse a breath or blood test, and it is your first offense, you’re looking at an automatic six-month administrative license loss. And if it’s your second offense? Two years!
If you blow over a .08 you will also end up with a six-month or two-year loss of license if your have a prior. And these are just administrative license / privilege suspensions!
The prosecutor can also introduce evidence of your refusal to take a breath test or blood test as evidence of “consciousness of guilt.” In other words, the judge can consider that one reason you might have refused testing is because you were impaired and did not want to reveal how impaired you were.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES IF I CONSENT TO A BREATH TEST OR BLOOD TEST FOR MY DWI CASE?
If you do blow or submit to a blood test and your BAC is between 0.08 and 0.16, you’re “per se” impaired. That means, you can be convicted of DWI based on your BAC alone!
If you blow or submit to a blood test and your BAC is higher than a .16, you’re looking at mandatory jail for an aggravated DWI.
If you blow or submit to a blood test and your BAC is below a .08, but you didn’t do well on the field tests, then you may not have a great defense at trial.
If you submit to a blood test and it reveals levels of drugs, illegal or legal/legally prescribed, this could also be used as evidence against you.
WITH THIS IN MIND, SHOULD I CONSENT TO A BREATH TEST OR BLOOD TEST?
First, think of this as more of safety advice than legal advice (we only give legal advice to clients).
Don’t drive after drinking. This isn’t always practical, but it is the gold standard.
Always inspect your car before driving! Plate lights out? Taillight or signal not working? How does that inspection sticker look? Police on DWI patrols are constantly looking for anything to pull you over!
Remember, there is always Uber, a taxi, or a hotel.
I CAN’T AFFORD A TAXI OR UBER!
I hear this all the time in New Hampshire. “But an Uber will cost me, like, $500!”
Well, maybe. But when you consider the cost of hiring an attorney, it is always cheaper to take the Uber or taxi! Moreover, if you are convicted of DWI, you will face a minimum of $620 in court fines and assessments. Not to mention hundreds of dollars in court-mandated assessments and treatment, hundreds of dollars for an ignition interlock device (plus—it’s just a bad look for school drop off!), and that dreaded SR-22 insurance.
In short, if you can’t afford a taxi, Uber, or hotel room for the night, you definitely cannot afford a DWI arrest!
WHAT IF I AM CHARGED WITH DWI?
Whether or not you submitted to a breath or blood test, an experienced DWI attorney like those at Bernazzani Law can help! Call our law office today at (603) 261-2214 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Police officers are human, and they make mistakes. They arrest drivers who aren’t impaired and/or write poor reports. They don’t always testify well in court and prevent the State from meeting its burden. Sometimes police make unlawful stops that can lead to the dismissal of an entire case. They also make errors when conducting field and breath testing which can result in the test results not being considered by the court at trial.
In a .08 or over .16 case, you might be able to establish that your BAC was climbing at the time of the test, and thus, that your BAC while operating was under the charged limit.
Generally, it’s a good idea to hire an expert, and make sure the attorney you hire has someone they regularly use and trust. Ask them! Attorney Anthony Naro regularly uses top-notch experts, such as CG Labs, to consult in NH DWI matters.
WHO YOU CHOOSE TO REPRESENT YOU IN YOUR DWI CASE MATTERS.
When it is your liberty and livelihood on the line, you need an attorney with experience! Attorney Anthony Naro has that experience and is ready to fight for you! Call our law office today at (603) 261-2214 to schedule a free case evaluation.
At Bernazzani Law, we understand that a DWI means more than just a mark on your record. It could mean not just your liberty being at risk, but also your livelihood and well-being of your family.
Attorney Naro handles DWI cases in all New Hampshire state courts. Attorney Naro regularly represents clients in Brentwood, Candia, Claremont, Concord, Derry, Hampton, Salem, Manchester, Merrimack, Milford, Nashua, and Ossipee.
No matter where you were arrested, or whether it was the New Hampshire State Police or local police, Attorney Naro has the experience and dedication to fight your case!