The loss of one’s driver’s license can be devastating. It can result in the loss of employment, the inability to visit children or family members or the inability to attend school. For over a decade, I have represented individuals summoned to the New Hampshire Department of Safety for hearings that could result in a license suspension or revocation.
New Hampshire has a so-called “under 20” law. Any driver 20 years old faces a license suspension beginning with their first moving violation. A first offense can result in a license loss of 20 days. A second offense can carry a suspension of up to 45 days. A third offense or greater carries a potential loss of up to 90 days. In addition to the loss of license, insurance premiums will increase and schedules will be affected due the need for other family members to transport the suspended driver to school, work or sporting events.
In addition to “under 20” license suspensions, an individual, both over and under the age of 20, can have their license suspended for accumulating too many points on their driving record over a certain amount of time. Many people don’t realize that just paying a ticket for a moving violation, while simple and quick, will result in points being added to their driving record.
The accumulation of moving violations can also result in someone being declared an Habitual Offender. Under New Hampshire law, if a person is found guilty of as few as three (3) major offenses in a 5-year period they can be declared an Habitual Offender by the NH Department of Safety. Tragically, if an individual is found driving after being declared an Habitual Offender, they can be sentenced to a State Prison sentence. Major driving offenses include DWI, Operating after Suspension, Conduct After an Accident, Reckless Driving and Negligent Driving.
In addition to driving offenses that can lead to a license suspension, The Department of Safety can also suspend a driver’s license if the person blows over .08 on a breath test after a DWI arrest or if the driver refuses to provide a breath sample after the DWI arrest. The minimum license suspension related to a breath test violation is 6 months in addition to any suspension imposed by the Court.
Over the past 10 years, I have represented clients at all of these types of hearings and have often assisted them in keeping their licenses from being suspended or revoked. I am aggressive in my defense of clients when necessary, but I am also adept at negotiating results that allow my clients to keep their licenses while satisfying the hearings officer that the result is just and fair.