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NH Driving impaired management programs IDCMP

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New Hampshire’s DWI Laws: Impaired Driver Care Management Programs Part 1

This is the first blog in a two part installment on how Impaired Driver Care Management Programs work in the state of New Hampshire.

Under New Hampshire’s current DWI laws, a motorist who is convicted of DWI, whether convicted by a jury or by pleading guilty, is required to complete a state approved Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP) before their driving privileges can be reinstated. If the conditions set forth by the state and these programs are not met, then one will not be able to have their driver’s license restored.

The Beginnings of IDCMP

Impaired Driver Care Management Programs were created in January of 2013 when New Hampshire enacted considerable changes to their DWI laws and sentencing processes. Before the enactment of this new law, a first time DWI offender had to successfully complete a 20 hour course entitled the Impaired Driver Intervention Program, which were offered by private institutions. Second time offenders had to successfully complete the Multiple Offender Program, which was 7 days in length. For a third or subsequent DWI conviction, offenders had to complete a 28 day residential treatment program offered through a private facility.

However, as of January 1st, 2013, 7 and 28 day treatment programs are no longer required by New Hampshire state statute. Instead, each individual must complete an IDCMP. Currently, there are 7 state approved, private providers who offer this program.

Stringent Deadlines

A motorist who is convicted of a first offense DWI, under state law, must have a screening evaluation conducted within 14 days of their initial conviction. This is a stringent deadline that is quite difficult for both program providers and defendants to meet. If the screening evaluation produces a positive result for a substance abuse disorder, then the individual must obtain a second screening evaluation, referred to as a full substance abuse disorder evaluation, within 30 days after the first screening. This comprehensive evaluation is then used to recommend an aftercare program for the defendant. According to available data, currently two thirds of all clients who enroll in IDCMPs test positive for substance abuse disorders.

On the other hand, if an initial screening is negative for the presence of a substance abuse problem, then the defendant would be required to complete a 20 hour Impaired Driver Education Program or Weekend Impaired Driver Education Program. A standard IDEP consists of multiple sessions that are held on weeknights and/or consecutive Saturdays and Sundays. A Weekend IDEP is a more concentrated version of the original program, and it is scheduled from Friday afternoons until Sunday afternoons. It does require two overnight stays for participants.

How Much Does an IDCMP Cost?

Without a doubt, Impaired Driver Care Management Programs are expensive. Currently, the capped fees for this program stand at:

§  Intake-includes screening if 1st offender - $75.00

       Client fee - $70.00

       Substance Use Evaluation - $200.00

       IDEP - $300.00 or WIDEP - $485.00 (WIDEP includes cost of room and board)

       Monitoring fee - $30.00 per contact

       IDCMP court appearance fee -$100.00

       Drug or alcohol testing fee – varies

       Out of state monitoring fee - $350.00

Skip a Deadline & Suffer the Consequences

For first time offenders convicted of a DWI, the process begins with a longer driver’s license suspension - usually a minimum of nine months. A New Hampshire state court will generally reduce this suspension period by 6 months if certain conditions of the IDCMP are adequately met. More specifically, the two deadlines that absolutely must be met are the initial screening evaluation within 14 days and the 30 day full substance abuse disorder evaluation. Exceptions are allowed to this rule only if the defendant can obtain a waiver from New Hampshire’s Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services.

If, for some reason, you cannot meet the first deadline for the initial screening evaluation, then you can expect your driver’s license suspension to triple unless a waiver can be had.

You Do Have a Choice

New Hampshire law does allow for some flexibility with Impaired Driver Care Management Programs. At any point during the process, you do have the option of halting your participation in one IDCMP and enrolling in a different program. For example, if one defendant’s screening produces a positive result, but they had a negative experience at the 14 day screening evaluation, then they can abandon ship and schedule the 30 day full screening at a different facility. This might increase the amount of money they are required to pay; however, no one can force you to stick it out with a single program.

Tune In Tomorrow

Here is where we are going to pause for the day, but tune in tomorrow when we begin discussing the screening process and how full substance abuse evaluations are conducted in New Hampshire.

Remember, if you have been charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, please contact one of our experienced and skilled New Hampshire DWI lawyers immediately. Your initial consultation is free, but time is of the essence in NH DWI cases, so don’t delay.

New Hampshire’s DWI Laws: Impaired Driver Care Management Programs Part 2

This blog is the second part of our two part series on New Hampshire’s Impaired Driver Care Management Programs (IDCMPs). This program is mandated for all motorists in the state of New Hampshire who are convicted of a DWI and consist of screening evaluations, alcohol and drug abuse education classes, and aftercare management.

The Changing Landscape of DWIs

New Hampshire was among the first states in the U.S. to implement the IDCMP model, and many other states are anxiously watching to see how it will affect the ever changing landscape of DWI law. In May of 2014, the New Hampshire Bar Association hosted an all day conference entitled “DWI Litigation: Keeping Pace With a Rapidly Changing Landscape”, which was attended by many state prosecutors and DWI defense attorneys, including several out of state guests. One of the keynote speakers of the conference was Robert Kelley, the director of the Amethyst Foundation. The Amethyst Foundation is just one of seven state approved providers of IDCMPs in New Hampshire.

Different Screening Instruments

As discussed yesterday, a defendant’s initial screening must occur within 14 days of the date of their conviction. The director of an IDCMP program will administer a battery of tests to an incoming client, including the Research On Addictions Self-Inventory (RIASI) and the Driver Risk Inventory (DRI-II) tests. Each test is scored in accordance with current research, and it is believed that certain answer patterns indicate and reflect the likelihood that a person has a substance abuse disorder.

Is It a Meaningless Charade?

The initial 14 day screening is believed to be a meaningless charade for certain defendants who automatically have a positive screening for the presence of a substance abuse disorder simply because they conform to a certain mold or criteria. Examples of such defendants include those who have prior NH DWI convictions, individuals who are under the age of 21 years, and those whose blood alcohol content level was higher than .16% at the time of their arrest. Despite the fact that administrative regulations automatically deem these clients at risk, each person is still required to attend the 14 day screening evaluation and to pay for its cost out of pocket.

Although this practice seems unfair, it is important to bear in mind that this is absolutely not the fault of the Impaired Driver Care Management Program. Rather, it is a New Hampshire state statute that the program provider, by law, must follow.

The Driver Risk Inventory (DRI-II)

Of all of the assessment tools and tests used by IDCMPs, perhaps the most well-known is the Driver Risk Inventory. This test is designed to be subjective, and the answers a person provides are analyzed for specific patterns to indicate their likelihood of having a disorder.

The Driver Risk Inventory itself consists of 129 questions. 84 of these questions are true/false. 11 are multiple choice questions, and the remaining 34 are subjective, self-rating questions.

An example of the type of true/false question one would expect to see on the test includes:

“I am impatient and often drive fast.”

An example of a subjective, self-rating question one might find on test is:

“Rate yourself as either 1) rarely or never, 2) sometimes, 3) often or 4) very often” for the following item: “98.  Fatigued/Tired/Sluggish”

It Is Useless to Try and Game the System

Simple observation will reveal that many of the questions on these assessment tools do not directly deal with the DWI itself. Rather, they indirectly aim to root out any underlying issues to gauge whether or not an individual has a substance abuse problem. IDCMP program directors and responsible NH DWI lawyers strongly discourage their clients from attempting to game the system by answering these questions in a manner designed to receive a negative result for a substance abuse disorder. The tests do have certain safeguards implemented to detect dishonesty. There are certain answer patterns that typically indicate when a client is contriving their answers instead of answering them truthfully and honestly.

What is most important is that the point of an IDCMP is to assist a person in receiving the help they need to deal with a problem they may not even be aware they had. Unfortunately, many defendants view an IDCMP as just another component of their punishment – something that just needs to be “gotten through”.

The Research On Addictions Self-Inventory

Although the Research On Addictions Self-Inventory test is similar to the Driver Risk Inventory, it is different in the fact that its questions tend to deal with underlying issues in a more direct manner (e.g. “I leave a party one the alcohol has run out.”). It also contains questions that initially seem to have little to do with treating existing underlying issues (“Since I turned 18, I have required emergency treatment for some type of injury.”). Once again, this test is looking for a specific pattern of answers. If a client attempts to contrive the answers they provide, the pattern that is created will indicate deception, which is a surefire method of ensuring that they will be prescribed an onerous aftercare plan.

New Hampshire DWI Lawyers

It is important to remember that an IDCMP is only one element of the penalties you will face if you are convicted of a DWI. Of course, the best method of avoiding a DWI conviction is to avoid drinking and driving; however, if you should find yourself charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, please contact our law offices immediately.

Your initial consultation is free, and each one of skilled and experienced NH DWI attorneys will work diligently to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

 

 

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