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Proposal would change New Hampshire DWI law

Thirty-five miles west of Rochester, legislators in New Hampshire's capital will in the new year consider a bill that will give new life to some drivers.

Currently, first-time DWI offenders receive a mandatory minimum loss of license for 90 days. Under the new proposal in Concord, judges would be allowed to decide if first-time offenders could continue driving, albeit with a limited license and an ignition interlock system installed in their vehicle.

Ignition interlock devices require people to blow into the system, which then detects any alcohol in their breath. If the person has too much alcohol in their breath, the system prevents the vehicle from being started.

First-time offenders would have to pay for installation and maintenance of the system.

The person would also have to demonstrate to the court that they have a good reason to be allowed back on the road without the usual minimum 90-day suspension. A number of reasons could be offered to judges, according a state legislator: a need to drive to get medical care or to take an immediate family member for medical care, also, those who must drive to acquire or keep a job might be eligible.

The legislator described the proposal as "a win-win for everybody." He said the ignition interlock keeps intoxicated people off of the road, while also allowing those who have made a mistake to keep working and earning a living to "support their families as they should."

Another legislator noted that people shouldn't be forced onto welfare just because they got a DWI and were fired. It should be noted that this happens far too often because the offender received the 90-day license suspension and could no longer get to work on time.

New Hampshire's House is scheduled to consider the measure next month when it returns to session. If it's approved, the Senate will then consider the legislation.

For those facing a DWI now, however, they face that license suspension if convicted, making the choice of attorney an important one for all those who need to keep driving.

Source: Fox News Boston, "N.H. bill proposes way for first-time DWI offenders to stay on road," Nov. 25, 2013

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