New Hampshire May Soon Issue Hardship Licenses

Those facing New Hampshire DUI suspensions may soon be able to get their driving privileges restored with ignition interlock restricted hardship licenses. Currently, the State of New Hampshire Motor Vehicles Bureau does not issue hardship licenses. However, if New Hampshire House Bill 496 passes, that will change.

First offenders who have lost their licenses for DUI in New Hampshire may have the right to apply for and be considered for hardship licenses which grant limited driving privileges. Unlike in Massachusetts, where hardship requests are submitted to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, in New Hampshire, the requests would go to the courts.

Similar to the Massachusetts requirements, hardship licenses would only be granted for work, school, or medical reasons. The New Hampshire BMV would also grant hardship license to allow an offender to attend a substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation program.

Any hardship license granted would have a mandatory interlock restriction and a violation of the hardship license restrictions would result in revocation of the license.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) favors ignition-interlock restricted hardship licenses over license suspensions on the grounds that nothing physically prevents a person whose license is suspended from operating a motor vehicle. Here, with the mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices,  DUI offenders are physically prevented from starting their vehicles if alcohol is detected.

Supporters of Melanie’s law in Massachusetts have been trying to change Melanie’s law to require interlock usage for first offenders for a period of 180 days. Interlocks are currently only required for repeat offenders in Massachusetts.