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Possible hardship license in NH coming in 2016

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DWI Offenders Will Be Allowed Limited Driving Privileges

In a controversial decision, the New Hampshire Senate, on April 24th, bestowed their preliminary approval upon a bill that would enable first time, DWI offenders to legally drive to and from medical appointments, school, and their place of employment.

Named House Bill 496, the bill establishes a restricted driver’s license for driving while intoxicated, first time offenders after their driving privileges have been revoked for 60 days or longer. House Bill 496, which was sponsored by Democratic House Majority Leader Stephen Shurtleff of Concord, bears many similarities to bills that have been passed in more than 20 other states, including Maine.

Under the provisions of this bill, first time offenders would be legally required to pay an application fee of $50.00 and petition an approved judge before they would be given consideration for a limited driver’s license. Depending upon the particular circumstances of each case, an offender may or may not be required to have their motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device, which the offender must pay for, before being allowed to legally drive. The limited driver’s license would specifically allow for an offender to drive to and from their current place of employment, to seek employment, to attend alcohol or substance abuse treatment, to attend school, receive medical treatment, or to seek medical treatment for family members in emergency situations.

The goal of House Bill 496 is to enable first time offenders to maintain their current employment since not all areas of New Hampshire have adequate access to public transportation, while still abiding by the legal restrictions of the law. Before the bill is enacted into law, it will be subject to a final review by the state’s Senate Finance Committee.

Democratic Senator Donna Soucy from Manchester has stated that the ignition interlock device an offender must have is different from standard models in that it has been equipped with enhanced technology that will provide law enforcement officials with real time data to alert agencies if the offending motorist has another person blow into the device for them or when the motorist is traveling within a specific area that has not been approved that has not been approved by the court system.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has lent their support to the bill, and its passage ad implementation has become a priority of theirs.

In a recently released statement, MADD National President Jan Withers stated:

“Drunk driving deaths are 100 percent preventable, and reducing the number of drunk driving fatalities in New Hampshire begins with strengthening the state’s drunk driving laws. MADD calls on lawmakers to pass our number-one legislative priority: ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.”

The bill passed the senate with amendment and will take effect January 2016, so unfortunately this bill will probably not help anyone who is currently under suspension for DWI.



Disclaimer: Past results do not guarantee a future outcome. Results include cases in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Attorney Dan Hynes is admitted to practice law only in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This website may be considered advertising. Contacting us does not create an attorney/client relationship and the information on this site is not legal advice and may be inaccurate or not applicable to your case. Each case is different.

Mailing Address: Dan Hynes PO BOX 598 Merrimack, NH 03054