You've climbed behind the wheel when you were unfit to drive, and the result is of a DUI/OUI conviction. Your life may seem in disarray and your livelihood may be hanging in the balance. Fortunately, you do have some options for getting certain driving privileges restored.
New Hampshire and Maine both have restricted driving license programs for people found guilty of DUI/OUI. These programs differ somewhat from state to state, but the offender has an opportunity to resume driving for work, medical care and attending college classes.
In Maine and New Hampshire, the states grant restricted driving privileges if there is no other viable alternative for the DUI/OUI offender to get to and from essential activities. Both states are largely rural, so it's vital for many residents with a DUI conviction to obtain a restricted driver's license.
A first-time DUI conviction in Maine results in a 150-month driver's license suspension. When the license has been reinstated, the state issues a probationary license for one year. When applying for a restricted driver's license, you must prove there is no other viable transportation alternative for work, school or medical appointments.
- Employment restricted:The license holder can drive to and from work as well as drive at work for business purposes only.
- Medical restricted: A physician must sign and notarize the driver's application, and it's only granted to the driver or driver's immediate family for the sole purpose of getting to and from essential medical appointments.
- Educational restricted: The state will issue a restricted license to students for driving to and from school, but only for regularly scheduled classes. It does grant driving privileges for extra-circular activities, sports and meetings.
In New Hampshire, a first DUI/OUI conviction results in a minimum of nine months and maximum of two years of suspended license. You need to petition the judge in court and provide proof that alternative forms of transportation are not available. But a few other conditions must be met. The applicant must pass an alcohol and drug screening to conclude if the DUI offender has an ongoing substance abuse problem. If the applicant tests positive for alcohol or drugs, then he or she must successfully meet the criteria for the Department of Health and Human services driver's education program.
In addition, you will have to procure SR-22 insurance and an ignition interlock device to be eligible.
To obtain a restricted driver's license, you need to meet the following criteria.
- Employment or seeking employment: The driver must be currently employed or actively seeking a job. The driver uses the motor vehicle to attend job training.
- Drug treatment/rehab: No alternative mode of transportation is available for getting to or from an alcohol or drug treatment or rehabilitation program.
- Medical care: The driver or member of the driver's immediate family requires regular and sustained medical treatment. The driver and/or driver's family uses the motor vehicle for the sole purpose of receiving the medical treatment.
- Educational purposes: New Hampshire will often grant a restricted driver's license for the exclusive purpose of traveling to and from an accredited school or institution.
A DUI conviction in Maine or New Hampshire is a serious crime that will result in significant fines, fees, possible jail time, and at the minimum some driving restrictions. But a DUI conviction does not prevent you from living your life or earning a living.
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