New Hampshire prohibits driving without a valid driver’s license. This article defines this violation, the possible penalties, and the exemptions to the license requirement.
Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle on a New Hampshire highway must carry a valid license while driving.
Driving without a valid license. Unlicensed driving is a class B misdemeanor, carrying a fine of up to $1,200 and four traffic violation demerits points. A motorist who drives on an expired license can be convicted of a violation (which carries up to $1,000 fine) or a class B misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense. Any unlicensed driver who also commits a traffic violation will be ineligible for a driver’s license for 12 months.
License not in possession. A driver who was issued a license but was not carrying it while driving can be charged with a class B misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $1,200 fine and two demerits. The driver will not be convicted if a then-valid license is produced within 48 hours of the citation.
Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver’s licenses from their home state or country can drive in New Hampshire without an in-state license, subject to New Hampshire age restrictions. However, new residents must obtain an in-state license within 60 days of residency.
A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended or revoked license is subject to fines, jail, and extended license sanctions.
Driving while suspended. Generally, driving while suspended or revoked is a violation, punishable by a fine of $250 to $1,000. A second or subsequent offense will generally result in a fine of $500 to $1,000. But if the prior offenses occurred within the last seven years, the current offense will be a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $1,200 fine and possible court-monitoring.
Suspended for DWI. A violator whose license was suspended due to a DWI (driving while intoxicated) will be sentenced to seven days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The driver’s license will also be revoked for an additional year.
Suspended for reckless driving. Violators who were suspended due to a reckless driving conviction will be guilty of a class B misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $1,200.
Injury accident. Any person who causes an injury accident while suspended or revoked will be guilty of a class B felony, punishable by up to $4,000 in fines and a maximum seven years prison.
All persons found guilty of driving while suspended or revoked are subject to an additional suspension or revocation of a like-period of time (up to one year) as the current suspension or revocation. Additionally, six demerits will be added to the driver’s record.