Restricted Licenses Not Available During ALS

Those of you who have been reading this blog know that a major change in the law is coming very soon... effective January 1, 2016, New Hampshire will finally make available to drivers convicted of DWI, a "restricted license," 45 days into the court-ordered suspension. You can read more about the restricted license law here. However, one of the "unanswered questions" about this new law, that I previously wrote about, has now been answered, at least for the time being.

No Restricted License During Administrative License Suspension

Just weeks before this law is scheduled to go into effect, however, the Department of Safety has adopted the official position that the restricted license is not available during any part of an Administrative License Suspension (ALS), with one, very narrow, exception.

The Narrow Exception

If the driver took the breath test and got an ALS for providing a breath test over .08, or a blood test at or over .08, and if the driver began serving that suspension prior to the court date, those days or weeks prior to the court date will count towards the 45 day waiting period to get a restricted license.

If driver refused a breath or blood or other post-arrest test, then the ALS runs consecutive to any court-ordered suspension. So, if the refusal ALS remains in place, driver could theoretically have the restricted license during the court-ordered suspension, but as soon as it ended and the driver began serving the ALS-refusal, the restricted license would be taken away.

The official interpretation of the law by the Department of Safety seems to eviscerate the portion of the law that expressly refers to administrative suspensions.

What this Means

This will be fought out in the courts, and it will take a long time for this issue to be resolved. In the meantime, if you want a restricted license, you have to be 1) convicted of DWI, and 2) no ALS.