Revision: Feb. 19, 2020, 9:06 a.m.
HB 1667-FN - AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 1667-FN
SPONSORS: Rep. Welch, Rock. 13; Rep. Meuse, Rock. 29; Rep. K. Murray, Rock. 24; Rep. P. Schmidt, Straf. 19; Rep. Rodd, Merr. 6; Rep. Berch, Ches. 1; Sen. Hennessey, Dist 5; Sen. French, Dist 7
This bill modifies the circumstances under which a driver's license may be suspended or revoked, and establishes procedures for restoration of a suspended or revoked license pursuant to an order from a superior court judge in a New Hampshire drug court.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
(d) Is incompetent to drive a motor vehicle by reason of physical[,] or mental [or moral] impairment[. For purposes of this paragraph, a license suspension or revocation on the basis of moral impairment shall be predicated only upon a conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude];
III. The director shall not revoke or suspend a driver's license under the provisions of this section for a period in excess of one year except[:
(a) In the case of a person whose license is suspended or revoked pursuant to RSA 263:56, I(g) the director may suspend or revoke a license for not more than 7 years.
(b)] in the case of a person whose license is suspended or revoked pursuant to RSA 263:56, I(d) by reason of physical or mental impairment, in which case the director may suspend or revoke a license indefinitely provided that the person may request a hearing once every year thereafter for the purpose of reviewing the original order.
IV. [In proceedings concerning accidents involving motor vehicle fatalities or serious injury, the director shall not give weight to the lack of a criminal prosecution relative to the accident in making his decision concerning license suspension or revocation.] In any hearing conducted under the provisions of this section regarding a fatality, the decedent's next of kin shall receive notice of the hearing, shall have the right to be present at the hearing, and shall be permitted to testify at the hearing. In any hearing conducted under the provisions of this section regarding a serious injury, any seriously injured person shall receive notice of the hearing, shall have the right to be present at the hearing, and shall be permitted to testify at the hearing. The decedent's next of kin or any seriously injured person, if aggrieved by the director's order, shall have standing under RSA 263:76 to file a petition of review in the superior court for review of the questions of law in the director's order. If an appeal is made under RSA 263:76 concerning an accident involving a motor vehicle fatality or serious injury, the decedent's next of kin or any seriously injured person shall be notified of the filing of the appeal and the date of the appeal hearing and shall have the right to make a written statement to the court at the time of the hearing. The director shall be deemed to have complied with this paragraph provided that he has notified by certified mail with return receipt requested the seriously injured person or at least one of the next of kin who is, if possible, of the age of majority and listed in RSA 259:66-a and who has been identified as a result of a review of division records or of information made known to the division.
3 Suspension or Revocation for Default, Noncompliance, or Nonpayment of Fine. Amend RSA 263:56-a to read as follows:
263:56-a Suspension or Revocation for [Default, Noncompliance, or Nonpayment of Fine.] Failure to Pay Taxes in a State Other than New Hampshire Prohibited.
[I. Whenever any defendant:
(a) Defaults on an arraignment or other scheduled court appearance in connection with a charge or conviction of any offense, or
(b) Fails to pay a fine or other penalty imposed in connection with a conviction of any offense which a court has determined he is able to pay, or issues a bad check in payment of a fine or other penalty; or
(c) Fails to comply with a similar order of the director or a court on any matter within the director's or court's jurisdiction, his driver's license or resident or nonresident driving privilege and in any motor vehicle case or related case the resident plates and motor vehicle registration shall be suspended or revoked only upon written consent of the director, effective 30 days after such default or failure, except as provided in subparagraph I(d) of this section.
(d) If a defendant receives a summons in hand from a law enforcement officer, no further notification to such defendant is required before the suspension of his driving privileges occurs as provided in subparagraph I(c). If a defendant receives a summons in any manner other than in hand by a law enforcement officer, the court or director, as applicable, shall notify such defendant by certified mail at his last known address that his driving privileges shall be suspended 30 days after the mailing of such notification.
(e) Is a sexual offender as defined in RSA 651-B:1, IV or an offender against children as defined in RSA 651-B:1, VI, and fails to comply with the registration requirements under RSA 651-B, and where the failure to comply persists for more than 30 days, the offender's driver's license or resident or nonresident driving privileges shall be suspended or revoked by the director under this section, provided, that the department shall first attempt to notify the offender in person, or by first class mail, return receipt requested, sent to the offender's last known address, that he or she is in violation of the registration requirements and that his or her driving privileges will be suspended or revoked if he or she fails to comply with the registration requirements within 15 days of the department's attempted notice of noncompliance.
I-a. The department shall cause written notice to be sent to any driver licensed by or person whose vehicle is registered by the state of New Hampshire who defaults as otherwise provided in this section on an appearance, summons, or court order issued in this state. Any person who defaults as provided in subparagraph I(c) shall be required to produce proof of satisfaction of the default either in hand or through the court to the department.
II.(a) If such defendant fails to appear, pay the fine or comply with an order within the applicable period, as provided in subparagraph I(c) or (d) of this section, or fails to demonstrate that the defendant is financially unable to pay the fine or to comply with the order within the applicable period, the director shall suspend such defendant's driver's license or resident or nonresident driving privilege effective from the applicable date for an indefinite period and mark the defendant's files accordingly.
(b) The director shall purge the record of violations, violations in default, related suspensions, and all fees and fines assessed against these defaults and suspensions under this section that have been on file for more than 7 years; provided, however, that the director shall not purge such records for a violation of RSA 265:79, RSA 265-A:2, I, RSA 265-A:3, RSA 265:115, RSA 265:117, and any offense which is a misdemeanor or felony during the defendant's lifetime until 10 years after the defendant's driver's license or driving privilege is reinstated. All courts shall notify the director of any such failure on a form prescribed by the director.
(c) The director shall report the names of all persons whose driver's licenses and driving privileges are suspended under this section to the National Driver Register administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
(d) The director may report the names of all persons whose driver's licenses and driving privileges are suspended under this section, due to nonpayment, to a consumer reporting agency as defined in RSA 359-B:3.]
[II-a.] Under no circumstances shall the director suspend, revoke, or fail to renew a driver's license for failure to pay taxes to a state other than New Hampshire. The director, upon receipt of request by a driver, accompanied by substantial evidence that a New Hampshire driver license suspension is the result of an out-of-state conviction for failure to pay taxes or an offense not pursuant to New Hampshire state law shall either restore the driver's New Hampshire driving privilege or forward the request to the bureau of hearings for a hearing to evaluate the evidence.
[III. Except as provided in paragraph IV, the license or driving privilege of any defendant whose license or privilege has been suspended pursuant to paragraph II shall be reinstated upon:
(a) Payment to the director of a fee of $100, which shall be in lieu of any other reinstatement fee and shall be deposited into the highway fund pursuant to RSA 260:23 and RSA 6:12, I(b)(5), provided, however, that in the event of a license suspension under RSA 263:14, a fee of $50 shall be paid to the director in lieu of the reinstatement fee under RSA 263:42, V and shall be deposited into the highway fund pursuant to RSA 260:23 and RSA 6:12, I(b)(5); and
(b) Appearance by such defendant, payment of his fine, or compliance with the order of the director, as applicable, or upon demonstration that such defendant is financially unable to pay the fine or to comply with the order. Any court which has ordered a suspension or revocation pursuant to paragraph II shall vacate the order and so notify the director and the affected defendant immediately after such defendant has appeared or paid his fine, as applicable, or has demonstrated that he is financially unable to pay the fine or to comply with the order.
IV. No license or driving privilege or plates suspended or revoked under this section shall be reinstated before the expiration of any other period of suspension or revocation in effect.
V. Nothing shall prevent any person affected by this section from obtaining a prompt review or hearing, upon showing just cause, before either the court or director for appropriate relief.
VI. The provisions of this section shall be the primary sanction for defendants who fail to appear, pay a fine, or other penalty or comply with an order of the director or a court, but shall not exclude other provisions of law relative to sanctions for defendants who fail to appear, pay a fine, or other penalty or comply with an order of the director or a court.
VII. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon application, the commissioner may, as justice may require, waive the driver's license suspension of any New Hampshire resident whose license or driving privileges have been suspended in this state or another state for a default on a non-drug or alcohol-related offense, where the default is more than 5 years old. This paragraph shall not apply to offenses which are misdemeanors or felonies.]
263:56-d Suspension for Forfeitures of Recognizances. [Notwithstanding the provisions of RSA 263:56-a,] The procedure for suspension of licenses and collection of payments for forfeited recognizances for driving offenses shall be in accordance with RSA 597:38-b. Payments collected by the court under RSA 597:38-b shall be deposited into a special fund, known as the default bench warrant fund. The commissioner may draw on such fund to pay the cost of state, county, and local law enforcement officials who make arrests pursuant to bench warrants issued for persons improperly at large for driving-related offenses up to a maximum amount of $100 per bench warrant. The commissioner shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to the disbursement of moneys from the default bench warrant fund to pay the costs related to law enforcement officials and bench warrants. The commissioner may also draw upon such fund to pay for costs associated with breath or blood alcohol testing, upon the recommendation of the advisory committee on breath analyzer machines pursuant to RSA 106-G:1.
263:57 Suspension by Justice for Cause.
[I.] Any justice of a district or municipal court or of the superior court may suspend any license issued to any person, [for a period not to exceed 30 days, after a conviction of an offense under the provisions of this title,] after due hearing, for any cause which he or she may deem sufficient.
[II. The court may also suspend any license issued to any person under the circumstances prescribed in, and in accordance with, RSA 634:2, VII.]
263:57-c Drug-Court License.
I. In this section:
(a) “Drug-court license” means a license to operate a motor vehicle in New Hampshire subject to the restrictions imposed by the superior court judge and the provisions of this section.
(b) “Superior court judge in charge of a drug court program” means a superior court judge who has received appropriate training in administering a drug court program as determined by the chief justice of the superior court.
II. A superior court judge in charge of a drug court program in a county may order restoration of a person’s privileges to operate a motor vehicle in New Hampshire, whether such privileges have been suspended or revoked by a court or the department of safety, division of motor vehicles, if such person:
(a) Is a participant in a drug court program in that county run by that superior court judge;
(b) Has reached the appropriate phase of the drug court program as identified by the superior court judge; and
(c) Has agreed to the terms and conditions associated with regaining the privilege to operate a motor vehicle in New Hampshire, which shall include an ongoing legal obligation to continue to pay fines and fees associated with the suspension or revocation and any such additional restrictions the superior court judge shall impose.
III. The existence of remaining fines and fees associated with the suspension or revocation shall not prevent the superior court judge from ordering the restoration of the person’s privileges to operate in New Hampshire. The person whose license has been restored under this section shall continue to pay fines and fees associated with the suspension or revocation.
IV. The superior court judge in charge of the drug court program shall inform the department of safety, division of motor vehicles, of the order restoring the person’s privileges to operate in New Hampshire under a drug-court license in a manner agreed upon by the chief justice of the superior court and the director of the division of motor vehicles.
V. The superior court judge in charge of the drug court program shall also have the power to revoke the order restoring the person’s privileges to operate in New Hampshire under a drug-court license based on the person’s performance in the drug court program. If the restoration order is revoked under this paragraph, the person’s privilege to operate shall revert to the status held immediately prior to the restoration order.
VI.(a) The drug-court license shall restrict the person to operating a motor vehicle only between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 12:30 a.m.
(b) The drug-court license shall restrict the person to operating a motor vehicle only within the state of New Hampshire.
VII. Once a person who has been issued a drug-court license pursuant to this section has completed the entire drug court program, including any aftercare program, the superior court judge in charge of the drug court program in which the person is participating shall order that the restrictions imposed on the person by this section be removed and the person’s privileges to operate in New Hampshire be fully restored. The judge making such an order shall so inform the department of safety, division of motor vehicles, in a manner agreed upon by the chief justice of the superior court and the director of the department of safety, division of motor vehicles.
I. Except as provided in RSA 179:23, any person under the age of 21 years who has in his or her possession any liquor or alcoholic beverage, or who is intoxicated by consumption of an alcoholic beverage, shall be guilty of a violation and shall be fined a minimum of $300. Any second and subsequent offense shall be fined at least $600. For purposes of this section, alcohol concentration as defined in RSA 259:3-b of .02 or more shall be prima facie evidence of intoxication. No portion of this mandatory minimum fine shall be waived, continued for sentencing, or suspended by the court. [In addition to the penalties provided in this section, the court may, in its discretion, impose further penalties authorized by RSA 263:56-b.]
(2) Fails to pay a fine or other penalty in connection with a conviction of a title XXI offense or payment of such fine or other penalty is uncollectible or unacceptable pursuant to RSA 6:11-a, the defendant shall be defaulted. In cases where the defendant has failed to enter a plea-by-mail with the director, the director [of] or designee shall determine what the fine would be upon a plea of guilty or nolo contendere and shall impose an administrative processing fee in addition to the fine and penalty assessment. In cases where the defendant has defaulted on a court obligation, the court shall determine what the fine would be upon a plea of guilty or nolo contendere and shall impose an administrative processing fee in addition to the fine and penalty assessment. [In any case, the defendant's driving privileges shall be suspended as provided in RSA 263:56-a.]
(a) Whenever a driver's license has been suspended or revoked, or [notwithstanding RSA 263:56-a, III,] whenever the holder of a commercial driver license has been disqualified for a period of greater than 15 days, a fee of $100 shall be paid by the licensee for the restoration of such license or commercial driver license; provided, however, that in the event of a license suspension under RSA 263:14, a fee of $50 shall be paid by the licensee for the restoration of the original or youth operators' license. Under certain conditions the commissioner may waive the restoration fee for a default or suspension. The commissioner shall adopt rules, under RSA 541-A, relative to such waiver procedures.
(a) Whenever a defendant does not enter a plea by mail prior to the arraignment day or does not appear personally or by counsel on or before that date or move for a continuance, the defendant shall be defaulted and the court shall determine what the fine would be upon a plea of guilty or nolo contendere and shall impose an administrative processing fee in addition to the fine and penalty assessment[, and in the case of violations of title XXI, the defendant's driving privileges shall be suspended as provided in RSA 263:56-a]. The provisions of RSA 207:18 and RSA 214:19, as applicable, shall apply to a defendant in violation of the provisions of title XVIII.
I. RSA 21-P:14, IV(p), relative to rulemaking authority of the department of safety.
II. RSA 263:56, I(f), (h), and (i), relative to the authority to suspend or revoke a driver's license.
III. RSA 263:56-b, relative to revocation or denial of drivers' licenses for drugs or alcohol involvement.
IV. RSA 263:56-c, relative to suspension of drivers' licenses for default in another jurisdiction.
V. RSA 263:58, relative to revocation for driving without consent or larceny.
VI. RSA 263:61, relative to suspension or revocation of licenses in flagrant cases.
HB 1667-FN- FISCAL NOTE
FISCAL IMPACT: [ X ] State [ ] County [ ] Local [ ] None
Estimated Increase / (Decrease)
[ ] General [ ] Education [ X ] Highway [ X ] Other - Restricted - Cost of Collections/Administration
*Pursuant to Part II, article 6-a of the New Hampshire constitution, any costs associated with the collection and administration of Highway Funds by the Department of Safety shall be deducted by the Department before such funds are credited to the Highway Fund as unrestricted revenue.
The Judicial Branch was contacted on October 29, 2019 and December 12, 2019, for a fiscal note worksheet, which the Judicial Branch has not provided as of December 30, 2019.
This bill modifies the circumstances under which a driver's license may be suspend or revoked and establishes procedures for restoration of a suspended or revoked license pursuant to an order for a superior court judge in a New Hampshire drug court. Under this proposed legislation, the Department of Safety states the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will no longer suspend individuals who have failed to appear at court, failed to pay court fines, failed to respond to a summons issued by a law enforcement officer, or have failed to comply with the sex offender registration requirements. Additionally, the proposed legislation removes the ability for the DMV to suspend an individual involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident or an accident with serious bodily injury for more than one year. The bill also removes the ability of the Director of Motor Vehicles to consider a license suspension or revocation without giving weight to the lack of criminal prosecution. Ultimately, it removes any and all authority to suspend for noncompliance with Title XXI, alcohol or drug involvement for a person under 21, individuals involved in flagrant cases and rulemaking authority for defaulting.
Due to the removal of suspensions and the reinstatement fees of $100 for driver’s licenses and $25 for registration privilege, this bill will likely result in a significant, but indeterminable, state revenue reduction. For information purposes, the Department of Safety states revenue collected for license and registration restoration fees for the period of 09/01/18-08/30/19 was nearly $5,000,000 (approximately $4,000,000 for licenses and $1,000,000 for registrations).
The Department of Safety also anticipates one-time system programming costs in FY 2021 of approximately $917,000:
VISION Development and Test
VISION New Credential Setup
VISION Restructure Financial Responsibility
MAAP System Chances (Includes Testing)
Other Systems (Website, Online Ticket Pay, etc…)
Vendor Costs for New Credential, Drug Court License
Department of Safety and Judicial Branch