Find Out Which States Are the Toughest On Drunk Drivers
Wallethub.com, a website specializing in financial services, has created a report ranking states on how lenient or tough their laws are on DWI offenders.
In their report, Wallethub cites a statistic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that states 31% of automobile fatalities in 2012 involved the consumption of alcohol. However, this number has significantly declined since 1980 when states first began to crack down on drunk driving. Wallethub contends that the decline can be attributed to the tougher laws and harsher penalties states have implemented to fight and punish drunk driving.
A point system was used to rank states depending on if and how specific DWI laws were imposed.
For example, a state would be allotted 10 points if the law mandated a minimum of 10 days in jail for a first time DWI offense. Eight points were given for mandatory 8-9 day jail sentences, six points for 6-7 mandatory sentences, and so forth.
Other elements included in the assessment included whether or not a state imposed additional penalties for extremely high BAC levels, the monetary amount of fees and fines, the time period of administrative license suspension, and whether or not a DWI conviction necessitated the use of an ignition interlock device.
So how did the states do?
According to Wallethub, Arizona is the state with the toughest stance on driving while intoxicated.
Just a few of the penalties Arizona metes out to motorists convicted of DWIs include a minimum 10 day stay in jail for a first time DWI conviction, which increases to 90 days for a second conviction. A third conviction is automatically classified as a felony. A first time offense leads to a 90 day suspension of one’s driving privileges, and an ignition interlock device must be installed in the defendant’s vehicle for a minimum of 12 months.
On the other hand, South Dakota ranked the worst for punishing motorists for driving while intoxicated.
§ There is not an established minimum jail term for a first offense DWI or a second offense DWI.
§ On the third offense, a DWI is automatically classified as a felony.
§ The installation of an ignition interlock device is not required upon a DWI conviction.
§ There is no established administrative license suspension.
So how did the lovely Commonwealth of New Hampshire fair?
Out of all 50 states, New Hampshire tied with Texas for 18th place. Here are a few of our stats:
§ For a first time DWI conviction, there is no established minimum amount of jail time, but a defendant can be sentenced to up to 10 days in jail.
§ For a second offense DWI conviction, the minimum amount of jail time is 30 days.
§ A DWI is automatically classified as a felony after the third offense.
§ Former DWI convictions will be factored into penalties for a new conviction for 10 years after the first conviction.
§ New Hampshire’s administrative license suspension period is 6 months.
New Hampshire’s DWI laws and penalties are not the strictest in the country, but lawmakers are currently voting on new legislation that could introduce harsher penalties. A DWI conviction is no laughing matter. If you have been arrested and charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, contact our law offices to speak with one of our experienced NH DWI lawyers.