Sometimes mistakes happen when you’ve been drinking – you may believe you are sober enough to drive and discover you’re not. When an officer pulls you over, it can be scary.

Most of us rely on our cars for basic transportation to work, school and other necessary travel. If you are charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), one of your top priorities is likely protecting your driving rights.

New Hampshire’s minimum sentencing requirements

Many states require minimum sentences for anyone who is convicted of a DWI. New Hampshire is among them: A DWI conviction, regardless whether it’s a first-time conviction or repeat offense, leads to license revocation for no less than nine months. In some cases, revocation can last for up to two years.

If you need your car for regular travel, that is a long time to spend without transportation.

Can I just refuse a blood alcohol test?

While it may seem like refusing a test would be the wisest choice, as it could keep police from gathering evidence against you, it may make matters worse. New Hampshire follows implied consent laws, which means that you consented to a chemical test when you got behind the wheel.

If you refuse testing, that itself is a crime and could lead to a license suspension of 180 days. It is a separate charge from a DWI, so even if you are acquitted of a DWI you could still temporarily lose your license.

If you are concerned about being without your driver’s license for any length of time, a criminal defense attorney can work with you on your options. A one-time mistake doesn’t have to upend your world.