While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual's New Hampshire driver's license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person's driving record or history, and the particular violation(s).
REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
There are a variety of reasons why your New Hampshire driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for a New Hampshire driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Excessive Moving Violations. The state of New Hampshire operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. Your driving license can be suspended for 3 months to a year. There are three age categories for point accumulation and subsequent suspension. They are as follows:
Drivers under the age of 18
- 6 points in 12 months - 3 month suspension.
- 12 points in two consecutive years - up to 6 months suspension.
- 18 points in three consecutive years - up to a year's suspension.
Drivers between the ages of 18-20
- 9 points in 12 months - 3 month suspension.
- 15 points in two consecutive years - up to 6 months suspension.
- 21 points in three consecutive years - up to a year's suspension.
Drivers aged 21 and above
- 12 points in 12 months - 3 month suspension.
- 18 in two consecutive years - up to 6 months suspension.
- 24 in three consecutive years - up a year's suspension.
- Driving Under the Influence. Your New Hampshire driver's license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the violation and whether it is a first or repeat offense. A first offense carries a fine of $1000 and a suspension period of 90 days up to 2 years. A second will be considered a misdemeanor and not a violation. You might also be asked to take a treatment program. The fine is $1000, in addition to the cost of the program, reinstatement and lawyer fees.
- Driving with a Suspended License or no License. Driving with a suspended license will lead to an increase in the length of the suspension, and you may also be imprisoned for up to five years. The duration of the additional suspension varies depending on the reason for the underlying suspension. Your driver's license may also be suspended if you do not have your license with you while you are driving.
- Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in New Hampshire must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
- Other Driving-Related Violations. Your New Hampshire driver's license may also be suspended if you engage in reckless driving, are found to be at fault in a fatal accident, or if you abandon your vehicle on a public highway. Other reasons include speeding, reckless driving, taking over a school bus unlawfully, disobeying a law enforcement officer, leaving the scene of an accident without giving aid, using a vehicle to commit a crime and vehicular homicide or manslaughter.
- Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The Division of Motor Vehicles can order a re-examination of any person who may not be fit to drive. An individual's driving privileges may be suspended if the re-examination finds they are physically or psychologically unable to drive safely.
- Non-Driving Reasons for License Suspension. A variety of non-driving violations or issues can result in your license being suspended. These include: not responding to a Division of Motor Vehicles notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.
- Habitual Offender. You are considered a habitual offender and your license is suspended if:
- You have 12 convictions which are a combination of speed, yellow line, operating without a license or without insurance or
- You have three major convictions or
- One major conviction and any combination of 8 convictions for reasons given above or
- Two major convictions and any combination of any 4 convictions from the reasons given above and
- These convictions are based on the date of violation occurred and have been within a five year period
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR NEW HAMPSHIRE DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your New Hampshire driver's license suspended is a serious matter and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended. If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer.
The most important things to be aware of following a license suspension are:
- If your license has not already been taken away from you in court, you must surrender it to the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles. You can surrender your license in person at a Driver Licensing Office or mail it to:
Department of Safety Division of Motor Vehicles Driver Licensing 23 Hazen Drive Concord NH 03305
- While your license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive. If you are found driving with a suspended license, you may be imprisoned for up to five years, and/or the length of your suspension may be increased
- After your suspension is over, you will receive a written notice of restoration, with instructions on how to restore your license. Do not drive until you have completed the necessary steps and received a valid, replacement license from the New Hampshire DMV.
- New Hampshire does not issue any hardship licenses during the suspension period.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
If you receive a notice of suspension from the DMV, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. The various forms required for a hearing are found here. You can mail the form to
Department of Safety Bureau of Hearings 33 Hazen Drive Concord NH
An administrative law judge or a DMV Administrator will hear your case, and determine whether your driver's license should be suspended or not. In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program removes three points from the current driving record, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.
It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.
RESTORING YOUR LICENSE
You will receive a notice from the DMV after you have completed your suspension period. The notice will include complete instructions regarding how to get your license back. The process of getting the license reinstated depends on the reason for suspension. For instance, if it was suspended for a DUI, you will have to complete the Impaired Driver Improvement Program (IDIP) or a Weekend Impaired Driver Improvement Program (WIPID) or a Phase II Program or Multiple Offender Program and file SR-22 before you apply for reinstatement. If you are considered a Habitual Offender and wish to reinstate your license, you will have to apply for a de-certification hearing. You will have to file the Request for Decertification from Habitual Offender Revocation Form and submit it to the Bureau of Hearings (address given above)
Generally, you will need to:
- Pay a restoration fee of $100. The fee cannot be paid at a substation. You can mail a check or money order payable to:
23 Hazen Drive Concord, NH 03305
- Apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license.
Note that after your license is restored, you may be subject to a probation period during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your New Hampshire driver's license.