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Frequently Asked DWI Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Does New Hampshire Have a Hardship/Work License?

No. If you lose your license for DWI or for refusing the breath test, or testing above the legal limit, there is no provisional, work, or hardship license. Many people ask me how they are supposed to get to work. Unfortunately, you will have to find a way that does not involve driving. If you get caught you will lose your license for an additional time. The only way to keep your license is to be found not guilty and win at an administrative license suspension hearing.

No Miranda Warnings were Given

Many people tell me they were never read their Miranda Rights and want to know if the case can be dismissed. The short answer is, it depends.

For Miranda Warnings to apply, you must be in custody, and have been interrogated. If you were handcuffed, or under arrest, you were in custody. If the officer wants to question you about what happened after you are arrested, he must inform you of your Miranda rights. The officer does not have to tell you your Miranda rights and they do not apply to booking questions, such as your name, date of birth, etc., and in regard to the Implied Consent Law (where the officer is asking you to take a chemical test; breath or blood).

If your Miranda rights were violated, a motion to suppress can be filed. If this motion is granted, the illegally obtained statements cannot be used against you at trial.


What is an Interlock Device?

An Interlock device is an instrument you must blow into in order to start your car, and while driving, to determine that you do not have alcohol in your system. Most States set the cut-off failure at .020 or .025.

An Interlock is required for certain offenses. In other cases, it is discretionary. In some cases, it may be volunteered in order to get the prosecutor to reduce the charge.


It works similar to a portable breath test. The newer models are more specific to alcohol, and supposedly have less false positives. However, if you have alcohol on your breath from things other than drinking, such as mouthwash, this will trigger the machine and you can be locked out. Failures are typically reported.

The cost to install it is around $100. The monthly cost to rent it is around $75 per month. Every so often you must have the vehicle inspected where the data is downloaded.


When do you recommend that I seek legal assistance?

As soon as possible. Many lawyers will give a free initial consultation. At a minimum you should know what timeframes you are up against. Usually, the sooner the lawyer starts to work for you, the better the possible defense you can have. It is important to interview witnesses and go to the scene soon after the date of arrest.


What does a DUI lawyer do?

To me, a DUI lawyer is someone who only represents clients charged with DUI/DWI, or at least a majority of the lawyer’s practice is representing someone charged with DUI. A DWI lawyer is a lawyer who practices criminal defense, but focuses on DWI. DUI is a highly specialized field due to the difficulties in the cases. The cases require knowledge of science, field sobriety tests, rules of evidence, and ever changing statutes and case law.

By thoroughly understanding those areas, the lawyer can help you present the best defense possible. Additionally, a lawyer can help you understand the process, what to expect, and hopefully obtain you the best result possible.


What if I Refuse a Breath or Blood test?

You will lose your license for 6 months or 2 years unless you request and win at an admniistrative license suspension hearing.


What is the "Legal Limit" in New Hampshire?

0.08 for drivers 21+, .02 for drivers under 21, and .04 for drivers operating a commercial vehicle.


I Passed the Field Sobriety Tests but was Still Arrested

If you took the field sobriety tests, and were arrested, in all likelihood the officer believed you failed the tests. While the officer certainly could have been wrong, the officer thought you failed, or else he would not likely have arrested you.

One of the many problems with the tests is that drivers do not understand what the officer is looking for, or what the fail point is. If you do not know the scoring, how can you know if you passed?

In regard to the eye test, it is impossible for you to know if you passed. The officer is looking for a nystagmus (an involuntary jerking of the eye) which does not affect your vision, and you will not know if it is present.

For the other tests, the fail point and the clues are set-up in such a way that practically everyone fails. In the last 100 cases that I have handled, I recall a handful of people passing at least one test (based solely on the police report and the officer’s conclusion), but never all three.

Just because the officer thought you failed, however, does not mean the tests were administered correctly, or that you could be reasonably expected to do perfect on them.



How much will it Cost for you to Represent me/ How can I Afford it?

The cost of how much it will cost for me to represent you depends on a variety of factors. The main factors are the type of crime you are charged with, whether it will be a trial, which court and court level you are charged in, how many court appearances need to be made, and the complexity of the case.


I understand hiring a good DWI lawyer can be very costly. For a first offense DWI you can expect to pay around a few thousand dollars to have an experienced and knowledgeable DWI lawyer represent you.


Do I Need an Attorney?

I sometimes get asked the question of "Why do I need an attorney? Can't I do it myself?" A lawyer can greatly improve your chances for a favorable result. Besides having extensive training, attorneys know and understand the law, rules of evidence, and are best able to protect your rights.

Consider the following: If you cut open your arm with a knife, you could try and fix it yourself, either with bandages or staples, or you could go to a trained professional, a Doctor, and get it properly taken care of. The Doctor will cost you more than if you did it yourself, but the results ought to be worth it. You wouldn't risk your body by trying to do it yourself, why risk going to jail from doing it yourself?

And if you had a heart condition, you wouldn’t just see a primary care doctor, you would see a cardiologist. Why settle for a lawyer who is a jack of all trades and master of none? Attorney Hynes only does DUI defense.


Will I have to Testify/ go to Trial?

This question is very case specific. Only after analyzing your case thoroughly could I advise as to whether it makes sense to go to trial and whether to testify. I can say that a majority of cases are settled without the need for trial. However, it is always your choice, and if you want to go all the way and fight it, I am prepared to do that on your behalf.

If you do choose to go trial, one of the toughest decisions is whether you should testify. While most lawyers rarely have clients testify, I believe I tend to have the driver testify more than most other Attorneys. In my belief, and experience, there are many good times for the driver to testify.

Some of these times include when there are medical conditions, issues with who was driving, reasons related to refusing a test/ or not being able to give one, and many other reasons that can help show you were not impaired.


I Want to Get Help with a Drinking Problem, where should I turn

For some drivers, an arrest for DWI is a wake-up call that they should make changes in their life related to the consumption of alcohol. There are many resources available for people who wish to change the manner or amount of alcohol they consume.

Some resources might include your local church, family and friends, a counselor, particularly a LADAC counselor who deals with alcohol issues, or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.


What are some of my rights?

*   You have the right to an attorney.

*   You have the right to a court appointed attorney if you cannot afford one and face possible incarceration. However, you may still be liable to repay the State hundreds of dollars or more.

*   You have the right to hire your own attorney.

*   You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to testify at trial.

*   You have the right to be informed that anything you say may be used against you.

*   You have the right to be informed of the charges against you.

*   You have the right to confront the witnesses against you and to obtain witnesses in your favor.

*   You have a right to all of the records that the police have.

*   You have the right to a speedy trial (although this can often be 9 months or more).

*   You have a right to a jury trial, when you face incarceration.

*   You are Not Guilty until proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.


Client Mistakes

One of the first mistakes people make when pulled over for a traffic stop is telling the officer things that support the officer believing they are operating under the influence. You have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself! However, the police do not have to tell you this right until you are arrested/ in custody and they start to interrogate you.

If the Police ask you if you had anything to drink, it will not help you by answering yes. You can either ignore their question or politely refuse to answer.

After the police think you have been drinking, they will probably politely ask you if you would mind stepping out of the car to perform a few tests. These field sobriety tests are optional! Again, it is probably best if you do not do them. Even if you think you will pass every test, the Officer will be the one deciding if you pass or fail. Some of the tests are very subjective, and often the police will not even administer the tests correctly.

Waiting too long to hire a lawyer - If you wait too long to hire a DWI lawyer, evidence could be lost, and important deadlines could be missed.

Even worse, would be not hiring an experienced DWI lawyer. Without the same training as the officer who administered field sobriety tests, and made a conclusion as to why you were impaired, do you really expect to be able to prove to a judge you were not impaired? Unfortunately, I have yet to see someone who has represented themself on a DWI charge be found Not Guilty at trial.

I have had numerous clients call me up after they handled their own case and lost, asking how I can now help them. My usual answer to them is that I am sorry, but I can no longer help. While you will have the right to appeal, given the nature of appeals, it is often not worth it.

Finally, people often make the mistake assuming their case cannot be won or there is nothing anyone can do.

Don't let the last mistake you make be not hiring a DWI lawyer who can help you keep your license and remain not guilty!


Police Mistakes

While most police are generally honest, that does not mean they are infallible. Their training has taught them to look for signs of driving while intoxicated, and if they notice anything that they think is a sign, they will likely make note of it and use it to try and prove you are guilty of DWI. A good DWI lawyer will be able to question the police on what they observed, and be able to submit evidence on your behalf to show anything the officer saw is not a sign that you operated a motor vehicle with your ability impaired due to alcohol or drugs.

Field Sobriety Tests are often the most harmful evidence the police think they have in a certain case. However, these tests are complicated, and there are strict guidelines the officer must follow to properly administer the tests. Many times, the officer will not do the test per the book. A good DWI lawyer will easily notice these problems and impeach the officer by showing the client did not commit DWI.


Lawyer Mistakes

Lawyers can also make mistakes in DWI cases. A common lawyer mistake is to advise the Client that he was able to get a plea for the minimum loss of license. The real minimum is 0 months and being found not guilty. While it may be best in your case to accept a plea, in many cases it is worth going to trial. Especially on second offenses that involve mandatory jail time.

Some lawyers will not go to the scene of the arrest. I believe it is important to see the road the client was on as well as seeing the entire scene to look for things that can explain bad driving is caused by road conditions and not alcohol impairment.

Finally, some lawyers make the mistake of not questioning the validity of field sobriety tests. While these "tests" are often not administered perfectly, even when they are administered properly, there is significant scientific research showing the tests are not entirely accurate.

Hiring a lawyer who focuses on DWI cases can make a difference. Attorney Hynes is devoted to drunk driving defense, and has the experience necessary to help you minimize and avoid a license loss and conviction.

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