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When implied consent intersects with driving privileges

Driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription medication and illicit drugs is a terrible idea. Not only can certain substances affect your ability to control your vehicle and avoid an automobile accident, but driving while impaired has some serious legal consequences.

You may not realize, though, that you do not have to be guilty of a DWI to lose your driving privileges. On the contrary, if you violate the Granite State’s implied consent law, you may also face a driver’s license suspension. As such, before you climb behind the wheel after a night on the town, you should understand implied consent.

The Law 

Section 265-A of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes says in part that any person who drives or attempts to drive a vehicle on public roadways must submit to sobriety testing at an officer’s request. Therefore, by simply driving, you consent to testing to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you would prefer not to go through testing, you can opt not to drive.

Testing 

Officers may use a couple of different tests to determine if you are operating a motor vehicle while impaired. First, they may ask you to complete a field sobriety test. This test requires you to perform certain physical tasks to check your sobriety. Alternatively, officers may ask you to provide a blood, breath or urine sample for chemical testing.

Penalties 

Even if you are not drunk or under the influence of drugs, you have already consented to testing simply by driving in New Hampshire. As such, refusing the test has consequences independent of the state’s DWI penalties. If you have never had a DWI conviction, a first testing refusal may result in a 180-day suspension of your driver’s license. On the other hand, if you have had a previous DWI arrest, you may receive a two-year license suspension for a first-time refusal to submit to testing.

Clearly, driving while impaired is a mistake in New Hampshire. Now that you realize refusing to take a chemical or field-sobriety test also has consequences, you can better plan for both staying safe and maintaining your driving privileges.