The New Hampshire Senate is currently considering a bill that would expand the administrative powers of the Division of Motor Vehicles when it comes to drivers who have been arrested for or charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Hampshire.
The bill, known as Senate Bill 282, would allow the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to request a hearing whenever a person’s license is suspended or revoked after a DUI arrest. The hearing would determine whether installing an ignition interlock device on the driver’s vehicle would improve safety.
If the hearing officer decides the answer is yes, the driver will have to have the device installed – at his or her own cost – before getting permission to drive again. The ignition interlock device could be required even if the driver is never actually convicted of DUI/DWI, or is convicted of only a first offense, which currently does not require an ignition interlock device in most cases. While supporters say the bill will improve safety and reduce possible drunk driving incidents, according to the Union-Leader, opponents say that an ignition interlock device should only be required if a driver is actually convicted of an alcohol-related offense – and they point out that an arrest alone never proves guilt.