Interviewer: Could a public offender represent someone in a DMV case?
David: No. It’s not a criminal proceeding. If you win the administrative hearing, it’s not a double jeopardy against the criminal prosecution. This is because you weren’t in jeopardy in the criminal sense of the word at the administrative proceeding. Therefore, if in fact you win the administrative hearing, your license is saved. You go to district court for the DWI trial and you could lose at that point.
It Is Always Advisable to Retain an Attorney for Both the Court and Administrative Hearings
Interviewer: Do you ever work with clients that feel, “You did help me out with a criminal case but I think I can do the DMV case on my own?”
David: No, not ever. You should hire a lawyer. Lawyers can defend at both hearings. It’s a very good point you made about the public defender. It is not possible to have a court appointed lawyer from Department of Safety.
Interviewer: How does the point system work in New Hampshire? Does the DMV handle cases about text messaging or cellphone usage infractions?
12 Points Received in 12 Months Can Result in a License Suspension
David: Not really, the DMV conducts hearings for point hearings. If you get four tickets, 12 points in one year, they send you a notice and can suspend your license for 90 days. They do have habitual offender hearings, which apply if you have three major convictions within five years for example.
After you get a DWI, you might be subject the DWI minimums in court but that’s strike three. Motor Vehicles will notify you for habitual offender hearing. They would take your license away for anywhere between one to four years.
A Habitual Offender Classification Is a Felony Charge
It is really an indefinite suspension. This is because you have to go back and have a hearing to have the license restored. Believe it or not, if you would have get caught driving as habitual offender, it’s a felony and you could go to prison for it.
With the medical reviews, once the medical evidence is there, the burden of proof shifts to the driver to demonstrate that they’re safe to drive. If the suspension is upheld, they could go back in a year and have a review hearing.
A Medical Review Outcome Could Result in a Lifetime Loss of License
Basically, a medical review could result in a lifetime loss of license. If you’re involved in a fatal accident or in an accident involving serious bodily injury, they can suspend your license for up to seven years and you can have a hearing of that character. Those could have a horrific result in terms, especially in New Hampshire, where there are no hardships or daytime only or work permit or any type of Cinderella-type licenses.
Currently, New Hampshire Will Not Issue a Hardship License for Limited Driving Privileges
Interviewer: So there are no hardship licenses available in New Hampshire?
David: There’s not. There’s not. It’s my understanding there’s going to be a legislative proposal in January to create such as statute. I’m not sure if that has the votes.
An Underage DWI Is Handled Differently and Subject to Different Regulations
Interviewer: Do you handle DWI cases differently with minors under the age of 18?
Underage Drivers Have a Low Legal Blood Alcohol Limit
David: Yes, the problem with people under age 21 exists. The first problem is the legal limit is .02. They can be literally convicted for drinking a beer and a half. The loss of license minimum is a year.
They can’t get their license back before age 21 unless they undergo a hearing and demonstrate to the hearings officer that they’re safe to drive. That an 18 year old getting convicted and losing license for a year. He can’t get his license back a year later at age 19, unless he undergoes a hearing to demonstrate that he’s okay to drive. The reinstatement also requires a drug and alcohol evaluation with a low risk to re-offend bottom line.