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Brush Up on New Hampshire's Alcohol-Related Laws this Holiday Season

During this time of year, many people celebrate the holidays at parties and gatherings with a number of alcoholic drinks. Unfortunately, for a time of year marked with increased alcohol consumption, so too is the number of alcohol-related offenses that occur. To help you stay safe this holiday season, here is a brief rundown of some of New Hampshire's alcohol-related laws:

DUI Laws in New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 265-A, titled "Alcohol or Drug Impairment," clearly defines and lists the penalties for offenses related to driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

In New Hampshire, the penalties for a DWI or DUI conviction will vary depending on the nature of the charge, the driver's history, and the facts of the case. There are, however, mandatory minimum sentences for NH DUI charges.

1st Offense

  • Jail: 10 Days Minimum
  • Fines and Penalties: $500 to $750
  • License Suspension: 9 to 18 Months
  • Ignition Interlock Device Required: No

2nd Offense

  • Jail: 30 Days Minimum
  • Fines and Penalties: $750 Minimum
  • License Suspension: 3 Years Minimum
  • Ignition Interlock Device Required: Possible

3rd Offense

  • Jail: 180 Days Minimum
  • Fines and Penalties: $750 Minimum
  • License Suspension: Indefinitely
  • Ignition Interlock Device Required: Possible

Transporting/Open Container Laws in New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 265-A:44 states that an adult cannot transport, carry, possess or have liquor or beverage (as defined by statute) within the passenger area of any vehicle on a New Hampshire "way", unless the seal of the original container is unbroken. (Those under the age of 21 are prohibited from transporting and liquor or beverage in any part of a vehicle unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.)

1st Offense (Adult)

  • Fines and Penalties: $150 Minimum
  • License Suspension: Possible 60 Days

2nd Offense (Adult)

  • Fines and Penalties: $150 Minimum, Up to $1,000
  • License Suspension: Possible 1 Year

Underage Drinking Laws in New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 179:10 states that anyone convicted of drinking under the age of 21 will be charged with "Unlawful Possession and Intoxication." Any minor who violates this statute for the first time will be charged with a violation and forced to pay a fine of at least $300 and the court will confiscate any alcoholic beverage found in a violating minor's possession. A second time offender will face a fine of at least $600. A minor in New Hampshire is considered intoxicated if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent.

1st Offense

  • Fines and Penalties: $300 Minimum

2nd Offense

  • Fines and Penalties: $600 Minimum

If you have been charged with an alcohol-related charge this holiday season, you need an experienced and effective criminal defense attorney to represent you immediately. The criminal defense lawyers at Wilson, Bush & Keefe, P.C. have the proven record of success to defend you when you need it the most.

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