What to Expect if You are Charged with Drunk Driving in New Hampshire

Appearing and Pleading in New Hampshire Court

The first court appearance when you are charged under New Hampshire drunk driving laws is called an arraignment; the arraignment date is shown on your summons, complaint, or bail receipt. If you are considering hiring a NH DWI lawyer to help you, you should not wait for your arraignment, since you may lose legal rights and advantages prior to the arraignment date.

At arraignment you will be read the complaint or complaints against you, and then you will be asked to enter your plea. If our DWI defense attorneys are retained to represent you sufficiently far in advance of the arraignment date, you will be able to avoid having to appear at the arraignment.

Not Guilty Plea

You have an absolute right to plead not guilty, even if your blood alcohol level was over the legal limit, or if you think you are, or may be, guilty.

A plea of not guilty simply means that you require the State to prove that you are guilty. When you plead not guilty, a trial will be scheduled at a later date; at that trial, the State will be required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, through witnesses, each and every element of the offense with which you are charged. If it fails to do so, you will be found not guilty and no drunk driver penalties will be leveled.

If you wish to contest the charge against you under NH drunk driving law, do not plead guilty or nolo contendere, but enter a plea of not guilty instead.

Trial and Appeal

If you are charged with a DWI first offense, you have a right to a trial before a judge, but you are not entitled to a jury trial. On charges of Aggravated DWI and DWI 2nd or subsequent offense, you are entitled to a trial by jury, but you may have to submit to a trial before a judge in the District Court first and then take an appeal to the Superior Court if you are convicted.

More from Our Resource Center

Of course the DWI arrest, charge, plea and/or trial are just some elements of what to expect after you are stopped for drunk driving. Drunk driving charges also involve:

Why You Need to Hire an Experienced NH DWI Lawyer

Contrary to popular belief, many people are found not guilty of DWI. In addition, many other people benefit greatly from either a negotiated reduction of the initial charge or by receiving a lesser punishment than they might expect if not represented by counsel.

Even if your DWI case is a difficult one, you still may be able to obtain a substantial reduction of the severity of your sentence, including eliminating or shortening any jail sentence and reducing considerably the length of your license loss when you hire an experienced New Hampshire DWI lawyer to defend your case.

It is essential to consult a lawyer who is both knowledgeable and experienced with DWI defense. NH DWI law has become more and more complex and difficult to master, especially for lawyers who do not deal with it often. DWI lawyers must keep abreast with complex scientific principles that determine the reliability of breath testing, blood testing, drug recognition experts, the interpretation of field sobriety tests, etc.

If you ran a business, would you hire a personal injury lawyer to do your taxes?

An accomplished, experienced, and dedicated NH DWI lawyer can frequently use the complexity of the law and science to the benefit of his clients — to minimize the serious consequences that your encounter with the legal system will have on your life.

At Lothstein Guerriero, PLLC, the initial consultation and evaluation of your New Hampshire DWI/DUI case is free. We will evaluate and assess your case honestly, and let you know exactly how much you will have to pay for legal representation over the course of the entire case, so that you can make an informed decision whether to hire us to represent you.

Don’t fall for a “snow job.” Many lawyers will tell you they CAN win your case. Talk is cheap. Hire a lawyer with a PROVEN RECORD of getting great outcomes for DWI clients.