Drunk Driving in New Hampshire in 2023: What Is Legal Blood Alcohol Level?

Drink and drive laws in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, the allowable blood alcohol content (BAC) level is below 0.08% (80 milliliters of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood). Reaching and exceeding the 0.08% BAC limit can result in a charge for DUI or driving under the influence.  

One to two standard alcoholic drinks are usually enough to meet or exceed the BAC limit of 0.08%. However, because BAC varies by weight and gender, this quantity should only be used as a general guide.

Before we further discuss impaired driving in New Hampshire, please keep in mind that the purpose of this post is to raise public awareness about drunk driving. This site does not support or encourage intoxicated driving in any state or country.

In 2020, the government of New Hampshire recorded 104 traffic fatalities. Thirty-six percent of this number involved drivers with BAC levels exceeding 0.08%.

Driving while impaired (DWI) or under the influence (DUI) is punishable by law in New Hampshire. New Hampshire’s government enacts DUI laws in order to combat drunk driving in the state.

Before getting behind the wheel, you must determine your blood alcohol level. You can use an alcohol breathalyzer to ensure you’re not over the legal BAC limit in New Hampshire.

As much as possible, avoid driving by yourself after drinking. Instead, take a cab or an Uber or use a designated driver service.

We recommend checking New Hampshire’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) official website for recent information about DWI driving rules and regulations.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in New Hampshire

Driving necessitates concentration, judgment, and the capacity to react quickly in an emergency. These abilities are impaired by alcohol, placing you and others in danger.

Alcohol enters your bloodstream between 30 minutes and two hours. During this time, your respiratory rate may slow, and your cognitive function may be delayed. Thus, driving while intoxicated is always dangerous.

In New Hampshire, you will be convicted of DWI or driving while impaired if your BAC reaches 0.08% or above.

Even though the state’s legal BAC limit is 0.08%, you should be aware that every person’s body responds to alcohol differently.

Your BAC level may be affected by some of the following variables:

  • weight
  • gender
  • stress and tiredness levels
  • alcohol consumption level
  • using medications

Some people pass out after having a couple of bottles of alcohol. Some might appear normal, but they already have poor driving skills. You must assess your BAC before you drive to abide by New Hampshire DUI rules.

A BAC calculator and chart can calculate how much alcohol you can consume before driving. However, these tools might not be ideal for everyone because each individual reacts differently to alcohol.

Using a certified alcohol breathalyzer is still the most accurate way to determine your BAC.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in New Hampshire

The degree of alcohol impairment is influenced by a person’s BAC, among other factors.

A person with a blood alcohol level between 0.010% and 0.029% typically seems normal.

However, alcohol-related impairment’s effects become more apparent as BAC levels increase.

DUI laws vary from state to state. Before you go behind the wheel, check your blood alcohol level to avoid being arrested.

Administrative and legal consequences may result from driving while impaired. Below is a list of New Hampshire’s DWI penalties to guide you.

First DWI Offense in New Hampshire

  • Fines: Minimum of $500 
  • License Suspension: Nine months up to two years of suspension

Second DWI Offense in New Hampshire

  • Jail Time: Mandatory minimum of 17 days imprisonment
  • Fines: Minimum of $750
  • License Suspension: Three years suspension of driver’s license

Third DWI Offense in New Hampshire

  • Jail Time: Mandatory minimum of 180 days imprisonment  
  • Fines: Up to $2,000
  • License Suspension: Indefinite suspension of license

New Hampshire Impaired Driver Intervention Program

All DUI offenders in New Hampshire are required to attend and participate in a New Hampshire-approved Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP).

This program may include the following:

  • Intake Interview and Screening
  • Substance Use Disorder Evaluation Assessment & Service Plan
  • DWI Education Classes 
  • Aftercare Counseling

Ignition Interlock Program in New Hampshire

An ignition interlock device is a mechanism that links a breath analyzer to the ignition system of a motor vehicle.

The analyzer detects the presence of alcohol in the breath of anyone who attempts to start a vehicle using the ignition system. The device restricts the vehicle from starting unless the user provides a breath sample with an alcohol concentration below a predetermined level.

The court may require the installation of an interlock device on an offender’s vehicle. If the DMV notified you to install one, you must present a Certificate of Installation issued by an approved vendor.

Test Refusal

Any driver who illicitly refuses a chemical test will be suspended for 180 days. The suspension will be two years if the driver has a prior DWI conviction or test refusal.

Reinstatement and Probationary License

Before reinstatement of a driver’s license, all fines and fees must be paid in full. The offender must also have completed the IDCMP.

Following reinstatement, the offender will be issued a five-year probationary license. During this time, the driver is not permitted to drive with a BAC of.03% or higher.

A refusal or failure to take a breath test (BAC of.03% or higher) will result in a 90- to 180-day suspension.

When Can You Drink and Drive in New Hampshire?

The amount of alcohol in someone’s blood may differ depending on their gender. Studies show that males and women have different BACs.

Men have substantially more significant levels of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) than women do. These enzymes are in charge of the metabolism of alcohol. Men process alcohol faster than women for that reason.

If you’re unsure how much alcohol you can consume before driving in New Hampshire, the information provided below may be helpful.

Even though studies back up the information below, not everyone may find it useful because alcohol can affect people differently.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in New Hampshire?

Drink beer and drive in New Hampshire

According to BAC charts, a lighter person may have a higher BAC.

A male weighing 180 pounds (82 kilograms) can reach a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% after consuming a 12-ounce (350 ml) beer.

In contrast, a female of the same weight who drinks beer might have a BAC of 0.03%.

It is best to limit your beer consumption to one to two bottles if you plan on driving afterward.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in New Hampshire?

A 5 oz (142 ml) wine has an alcohol content of 12%.

A 180-pound male can have a BAC of 0.02% after drinking one glass of wine, similar to the preceding example. Yet, a woman of the same weight and alcohol intake may have a BAC of up to 0.03%.

Thus, one to two glasses of wine are enough to meet New Hampshire’s BAC limits.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in New Hampshire?

Distilled alcoholic beverages like vodka and whiskey have a 40% alcohol content.

You should only have one to two shots of whiskey or vodka to stay within New Hampshire’s legal limit.

Sticking to DUI Laws in New Hampshire

There are several misconceptions about how drinking impacts driving. All drivers should be aware of the dangers of DUI and take all reasonable precautions to avoid it.

Everyone faces risk when driving after drinking. You can get drunk and have trouble controlling yourself and your vehicle.

Even if you’ve only had a little alcohol, you shouldn’t assume your BAC and driving abilities are reliable. If you’re drunk, you should think about taking alternate transportation rather than driving a car.

If you intend to drive after drinking, be sure your blood alcohol level stays below the legal limit. An accurate alcohol breathalyzer can precisely measure your blood alcohol content.

Always check the official website of New Hampshire to check the latest DUI regulations.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.