Once you have a New Hampshire driver’s license, you are automatically subject to the “implied consent” rule, which means you agree to sobriety testing if stopped on suspicion of DWI.

Does this mean the law obligates you to take a breath test, and if so, what happens if you refuse?

About DWI

If a law enforcement officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the officer will give you sobriety testing options. These include a blood test, urine test, balance or breath test. A breath testing device is actually a computer with a mouthpiece attached. When you breathe into it, the machine will measure the blood alcohol content level in your system.

The legal limit for an adult is 0.08%. For commercial drivers, it is 0.04% and for those under the age of 21, the legal limit is 0.02%.

Breath test refusal

You have the right to refuse a breath test, but in doing so you would lose your driving privileges automatically for 180 days. If you are a New Hampshire resident but do not have a driver’s license in this state, you will not have permission to drive and cannot obtain a driver’s license for 180 days following the DWI incident.

If you have a prior conviction for DWI, you face license suspension for two years, and the same penalty holds true if you are a New Hampshire resident who has no driver’s license or permit in this state.

Additionally, if the Department of Motor Vehicles suspends your privilege to drive a motor vehicle, the penalty extends to operating a boat for the term of the suspension. The penalties you face from the DMV will accompany any the court has in store for you.

Other considerations

DWI penalties can include the requirement to file proof of SR11 vehicle insurance for three years and pay a fee of $100 to have your driver’s license reinstated. If your arrest for DWI is a second offense, the DMV may revoke your registration, require the installation of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you drive and order you to attend an Impaired Driver Care Management Program.