What Happens At The License Hearing And How Long Do I Have To Request This Hearing?
The administrative license suspension (ALS) hearing must be requested by you or your attorney within 30 days of the arrest, and you must articulate why you are requesting the hearing. For example, you may feel that there was a violation of the policies, that it was an unlawful stop, that there was an error within the test, or that it was an unfounded arrest. If your request is accepted, then you will be provided with a date for the hearing, which will occur at a DMV location within New Hampshire and will be presided over by an employee (typically an attorney) of the DMV rather than a judge.
You will testify under oath and in the presence of the hearing examiner, your lawyer, and the arresting officer. The officer will read his report and can be questioned by your attorney. You can choose whether or not to provide testimony to the hearing examiner. The hearing examiner determines whether you were afforded an opportunity to provide your own breath, blood, or urine sample, and whether the protocol for use of the Intoxilyzer was followed properly; the hearing examiner does not determine whether you are guilty of DUI or DWI.
The challenge is going to be based upon the officer’s observations, the facts surrounding your arrest, and whether or not the policy and procedure for implementing and providing a breath sample were given. If the hearing officer makes a determination by a preponderance of the evidence that you were in fact afforded an opportunity and either refused, or consented and were shown to have alcohol or drugs in your system, then you will lose your license for 180 days.
The administrative license suspension hearing and the court system operate independent of each other, which means you could win the ALS hearing and still be found guilty and convicted in a court of law on a DUI charge; the reverse is also true.
What Is An Ignition Interlock Device? Does Everyone Who Is Charged With A DUI Or DWI In New Hampshire Have To Have One?
The court or the DMV could order an ignition interlock device based upon the facts of your case and your driving history. An ignition interlock device is basically a breathalyzer tube that is installed on the steering column of your vehicle at your expense. Prior to starting your vehicle, you will be required to provide a sample of your breath. If the machine detects alcohol, then you will not be able to start your vehicle. There is a list of penalties associated with attempting to circumvent the ignition interlock device or utilizing a third party to blow through the tube.
On a first-offense DWI or DUI, it is up to the judge and prosecutor to determine whether an ignition interlock device will be required. On subsequent DWI or DUI offenses, an ignition interlock device becomes mandatory. Typically, the device must be used for 12 to 24 months. The device is accompanied by a monthly fee. It should also be known that these devices are designed to provide electronic reports to the DMV for any positive tests (i.e. positive detection of alcohol). This could be defended by claiming that it was a false positive or that there is some other defect in the machine.
If challenging a positive test associated with an ignition interlock device, you will have to appear once again at a DMV hearing. The hearing examiner assigned to the case will determine whether you are credible and what your motivation to drive would have been. It is the goal of the DMV to prevent tampering or disabling of ignition interlock devices.
What Factors Could Enhance Or Aggravate A DWI Charge In New Hampshire?
There are a number of factors which could enhance or aggravate a DWI charge in New Hampshire, including a blood alcohol concentration of twice the legal limit of impairment (0.16), the presence of children in the vehicle, the occurrence of an accident in which someone else sustained an injury, reckless operation of the vehicle, excessive speeding, or having a litany of other motor vehicle charges that resulted in the initial stop. A DWI conviction can be a Class B misdemeanor or a Class A misdemeanor, the latter of which exposes you to jail time in addition to extensive loss-of-license time constraints.
For more information on DUI Cases, a personalized case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (603) 880-1300 today.
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