ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION AFTER A DUI
It is 2 AM in the morning. Your head is foggy. Your anxiety levels are sky-high. You smell like a dirty jail cell. You still feel the phantom cold tightness around your wrists where steel handcuffs had been a few hours before. You have paid your $40 to the bail commissioner. Your friend or partner has arrived to pick you up from the police station. You have no idea to where your car has been towed. You are still holding your pee in your bladder because there was no way in hell you were going to sit on that cell toilet or expose yourself to the holding tank camera.
As you make your way to the police station exit door, a police officer hands you a bunch of papers. You have no idea what these papers are or what they mean. The officer explains that one paper contains your bail conditions (yes – you are now out on bail – and you do have bail conditions). The other paper, the officer tells you, reflects your upcoming court date. Lastly, the pink tissue-thin paper in is your Administrative License Suspension form.
You thank the officer. You walk to where your ride is waiting for you. You open the passenger-side door. You are too embarrassed to make eye contact with your 2 AM driver. You sit down and stare at the papers in your hand. Bail conditions? Fine. I understand I have to behave until my case is resolved. Court date? Ok, I understand I have to call in or appear in court in a few weeks. But, what is this Administrative License Suspension form? Why is it pink? The pink paper has a bunch of written check marks on it that were written on there by your arresting officer. The police officer told you that the pink paper was your “temporary license,” but he also told you that you will be losing your license in 30 days. None of this makes a whole lot of sense. So, you fold the papers, put them in your pocket, and hope that by this time tomorrow, you will still have a job, a marriage, and an in-tact reputation.
Does this sound familiar? If so, don’t worry about that piece of paper. Don’t waste your time on Google. This is where we come in at OSBORNE LAW. Attorney Mark Osborne is an experienced DWI/DUI/OUI lawyer who handles cases like yours every day. Having been both a DWI prosecutor and a DWI defense lawyer, Attorney Mark Osborne is well qualified to explain to you exactly what the Administrative License Suspension (“ALS”) pink paper means for you.
We don’t want you to go away from this page empty-handed, so please know the following information about your pink ALS form:
- Not everyone leaves the police station with a pink ALS form. We are not suggesting that other folks arrested for DUI/DWI leave with green or orange ALS papers. Not at all. Instead, we are telling you that some folks are not given an ALS form. If you took a breath test or refused a breath test, you will almost always be given an ALS form before leaving the police station.
If you were offered a blood test and agreed to take the blood test, you will most likely not be given a pink ALS form until the blood test results come back. This can take up to a few weeks. So, if you are someone who took a blood test, don’t be surprised or alarmed that the officer did not give you an ALS form or that you lost it between the police station and the front door to your home.
- This pink ALS form is most likely your temporary driver’s license if you hold a New Hampshire driver’s license. Under New Hampshire law, as someone arrested for DWI, DUI, OUI, you have 30 days from the day of your arrest to drive if:
- You have a New Hampshire driver’s license; or,
- You either took or refused a breath test; or,
- You refused a blood test or urine test, and of course,
- You do not have any other license suspensions pending in another court, state, or DMV.
If you took a blood test and have not received the results, you will receive the pink ALS form along with it once you receive the results. Then, you will have 30 days to drive from the time you received the blood test results.
- If you have an out-of-state driver’s license, then your privilege to drive in New Hampshire is suspended/revoked immediately following your DWI, DUI, OUI arrest. Sometimes police officers don’t check the correct box and erroneously check the box on the ALS form, instructing non-New Hampshire license holders that they may drive in New Hampshire for 30 more days.
Please do not rely on the officer’s error as an excuse to drive in New Hampshire. If you are an out-of-state driver, and you are stopped or pulled over after your New Hampshire DWI, DUI, OUI arrest, the fact that the officer checked the wrong box may not keep you from being arrested for driving with a suspended license in New Hampshire.
- Suppose you have an out-of-state driver’s license. In that case, you probably can still drive in your state (from which you have a valid driver’s license) or any other state (except for New Hampshire), up until you receive notice from your home state’s DMV that they too have suspended your license.
Suppose you have and hold a driver’s license from another state. In that case, the New Hampshire DMV does not have the power, authority, or jurisdiction to suspend your out-of-state driver’s license. New Hampshire can say, however, that you won’t be driving in New Hampshire anytime soon and will immediately suspend your New Hampshire driving privileges.
When in doubt (and doubt is never a bad thing to have once your license is put in jeopardy by a DWI, DUI, OUI arrest), always call and check with your home-state DMV to make sure your license is still valid. Sometimes it takes days, weeks, or months for your state to learn of your New Hampshire DWI arrest and “privilege to drive” suspension.
- Your out-of-state driver’s license is probably going to be suspended sometime soon after the New Hampshire DMV suspends/revokes your “privilege to drive” in New Hampshire. Once someone holding an out-of-state is arrested for a DWI, DUI, OUI, the New Hampshire DMV will first suspend/revoke his/her privilege to drive in New Hampshire.
Next, the New Hampshire DMV will contact your state and tell them about your DWI-NH DMV suspension. The State from which you have a driver’s license, upon hearing this news, will then usually suspend your license to drive in your own state. This is called interstate reciprocity. We say “usually” because we cannot say what all DMVs in all 50 states will or will not do. Some states like Massachusetts will suspend your Massachusetts driver’s license immediately, whereas bigger and farther away states will generally take their time in getting to you, if at all.
Again, when in doubt, call your home-state DMV and ask if your license is valid. Use neutral, non-alarmist language, and you can be fairly assured that you are not “tipping them off.” Yes, you run the risk of getting flagged. Still, it's either that or run the risk of being arrested for driving with a suspended license as you and your family are trying to get home from dinner.
- You have 30 days from your arrest (or from when you receive blood test results if you took a blood test) to request a hearing with the New Hampshire DMV to challenge your administrative license suspension. Once those 30 days have passed, if you haven’t requested your “ALS” hearing, you will have lost the opportunity for such a hearing forever.
- For how long will the New Hampshire DMV suspend my license administratively because of my DWI, DU, OUI arrest? If this is your first DWI arrest, the New Hampshire DMV will typically suspend your license for 6 months. If it is your second DWI, the New Hampshire DMV will typically suspend your license for 2 years. These are the general ALS suspension times. Every case is different, so call us at OSBORNE LAW for a more detailed discussion about ALS suspensions and how they apply specifically to your case.
- Does my New Hampshire DMV ALS suspension affect how long the court will suspend my license? The general and broad answer is no. The courts of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire DMV are separate entities. So, if you “win” your court trial, the DMV ALS suspension will remain in place. If you “win” the DMV hearing and you get your license reinstated by the DMV, such a “win” at DMV does not stop the court from suspending your license or New Hampshire driving privileges afterward.
That is not to say your DMV and Court license suspensions cannot be addressed or negotiated towards a more favorable outcome. They can, and often times are. For a more precise answer to this question, Attorney Mark Osborne would first need to meet with you and deep dive into all of the facts and circumstances of your case.
- It does not matter if you did or did not take a breath test. The New Hampshire DMV will still suspend your license for 6 months for a first DWI, DUI, or OUI (and 2 years for a second one).
People often think that as long as they take a breath test, they won’t lose their licenses. This is not correct.
Suppose you are arrested for a DWI, DUI, or OUI, and you take the breath test. In that case, if you blow over the legal limit (.02 for people under 21 years old) (.08 for people who are 21 years old or older), the DMV will not thank you for your cooperation. Instead, they will punish you for blowing over the limit and suspend your license (or privilege to drive in NH if you are from out of state) accordingly.
Suppose you refuse to take a breath test at the police station after your arrest. In that case, the DMV will take your license (or NH driving privileges) accordingly.
At the end of the day, the New Hampshire DMV more or less punishes you for simply having gotten arrested for DWI in the first place.
*If you do take a breath test and you blow over the legal limit, the breath tests will be used against you at trial. The only consolation prize for taking a breath test is that the DMV suspension (either 6 months or 2 years) can run concurrently (at the same time) as your court suspension. Again, this is general information that may or may not apply directly to your case. Every case is different, so please call us OSBORNE LAW before making any decisions about how you wish to handle your case.
This page is intended to answer your general questions as you begin your Google searches about DWI laws in New Hampshire. Most websites don’t even give you this much information. We promise that there is much more to know about ALS suspensions, and Attorney Mark Osborne is happy to talk to you about it.