Interviewer: If your blood alcohol level is high enough, do you enter a new class called aggravated DWI?
David: Yes, that blood alcohol level is a .16 or higher. There are also other versions of aggravated DWI. For example, if you were going more than 30 mph over the speed limit and under the influence, that would be aggravated DWI.
Furthermore, if you have a child in the car, someone under age 16, that is a serious problem. You could get charged with aggravated DWI for that. If you were involved in an accident with bodily injury, that would be another aggravated case.
Interviewer: How would you compare the penalties for a run-of-the-mill DUI versus an aggravated one?
David: The biggest difference between the two is the fact that aggravated DWI carries a mandatory jail sentence. With a first offense DWI, you cannot go to jail. All the court can do is assess a fine against you and suspend your driver’s license. Also, if you are from out of state, the court can suspend your privilege to drive here in New Hampshire.
However, for aggravated DWI, there is a mandatory jail sentence
Interviewer: How long is the mandatory jail sentence for aggravated DWI?
David: The statute basically says 17 days, 12 of which can be suspended on conditions of getting an evaluation done within 30 days to see what kind of problem you have with alcohol. Then you have to follow the treatment protocol that is developed. But the jail sentence is five days minimum.
The jail sentence is a class A misdemeanor in which someone could be incarcerated for any time the judge sees fit; up to a full year in jail. In a couple of jurisdictions, including my home court Manchester, you might very well be looking at 30 days or 60 days in jail as opposed to the minimum. That could be the result if you have a high breath alcohol number, or if you have a prior conviction outside the tenure window, and then get aggravated.