Like many U.S. states, New Hampshire is an “implied consent” state. This means that, by accepting a New Hampshire driver’s license, drivers have automatically agreed to take a chemical test for blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, whenever an officer requests one. The most common chemical test asked for is a breath test, but blood tests and urine tests may also be required in certain circumstances.
Before administering a chemical test, an officer will usually read a driver a form that explains the implied consent law and the penalties the driver will face for refusing the test. These penalties include an automatic administrative license suspension (ALS) by the division of motor vehicles, which can last for up to two (2) years. If the driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, this suspension is in addition to any license suspension that a court may order if the driver is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI).
In New Hampshire, drivers do not have the option to refuse one type of BAC test but agree to another. For instance, a driver who refuses to take a breath test is assumed to be refusing to obey the New Hampshire implied consent law, even if that same driver would agree to a blood test. New Hampshire courts have also held that a driver cannot refuse to take a second test if the testing equipment fails the first time. For instance, a driver who agrees to take a breath test, only to find out the officer’s breath-testing machine is broken, may still face an ALS suspension if the driver refuses to travel to the nearest police station with the officer to take a breath test on working equipment.