NH Legislature Debating Whether to Allow Ignition Interlock for First Time Offenders

I field calls every day from people who have been arrested for DWI. By far, the number one question that people ask the DWI defense lawyers in our firm every day is: If I get convicted of DWI or a lesser offense and the Court suspends my driver's license, will I be able to have a "work permit" or "Cinderella" (daytime only) or other form of restricted driver's license?

Unfortunately, in NH the answer has always been "No." Unlike most other States, we have no limited purpose or restricted driver's licenses available for first-time DWI offenders. This means that people can't drive to work, can't drive their kids to school and afterschool activities, can't get to the grocery store or the doctor's office. It's devastating, and it's particularly unfair to middle class and lower income people, who are unable to afford the cost of a "driver" during their suspension period.

Fortunately, some members of NH's legislature have recognized that we don't further a person's rehabilitation by making them lose their job or their home. By a 17-1 vote, the NH House's Criminal Justice Committee has recommended passage of a Bill that would allow first-time DWI offenders to install an ignition interlock device and drive for limited purposes - for example, driving to work, or driving family members to health care appointments. This Bill will go before the full legislature in January. Here is a link to news coverage to the Bill. You can find the actual Bill here by searching for "DWI".