Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol - (NH RSA 265:A-2)

Elements of the Offense - Ability Impaired

Elements of the Offense - Per Se Law


There are 2 ways you can be charged with DWI - Alcohol in New Hampshire. The first is driving while under the influence of alcohol. The second is the Per Se law, operating a motor vehicle while your blood alcohol content is .08 or higher.

There are three things the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be found guilty of DWI - Alcohol.
The first is that you were driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle. You can be found guilty of this by having the engine running, or possibly even just having the keys inside the vehicle. If you were not driving/ the car was not in motion, a good DWI lawyer will be able to argue this fact to show you were not operating.

The second thing the prosecution must prove is that you were on a public way. This is generally a street or highway, but can also be anywhere the public has access to, such as a parking lot. If the spot is potentially private, an attorney may be able to argue to the judge and jury that you were not on a public way, thereby getting you found not guilty.

The final thing the state must prove is that your ability to operate the motor vehicle is impaired. The State does not have to prove you were intoxicated. The state will usually try to show this by having an officer testify you "failed" field sobriety tests, or other things that the police believes shows your ability to drive was impaired due to the alcohol. This is the most complicated element, and a good DUI lawyer can effectively cross examine the officer to prevent the State from proving beyond a reasonable doubt that your ability to operate was impaired due to alcohol.

For the Per Se law, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your blood alcohol content was .08 or higher (.02 for under 21, .04 for commerical driver). They can do this with either a blood or breath sample from you. Even if you can a result that came back .08 or higher, you still have defenses. A good dwi lawyer can show the sample was improperly or illegally obtained, or that the results or not accurate due to problems with the person who tested you, how the test was taken/given, or problems that are inherent in theĀ  machine/ process itself. No test is 100% accurate. A good DUI attorney knows the problems that arise and can argue that you did not have a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, thereby finding you not guilty.