New Hampshire Reckless Driving

Reckless driving in New Hampshire carries a possible fine of $4,000, a lifetime jail sentence, license revocation, and 6 points on your driving record.
Written by Maxine Boyko
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
A reckless driving charge in New Hampshire carries a mandatory penalty of $500 in fines, a 60-day license, and six points on your driving record. 
Every driver knows that exceeding the speed limit can earn you a speeding ticket. What you might not know, however, is that speeding could quickly result in a reckless driving charge. If your speeding also happens to lead to the death of another person, you will be charged with reckless driving and face a possible decades-long prison sentence. 
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How does New Hampshire define reckless driving?

New Hampshire defines reckless driving as driving in a manner that poses a “substantial and unjustifiable” risk to others, and being aware of and consciously disregarding this risk.
Many risky driving scenarios could happen on New Hampshire roads. State law specifically addresses two concrete examples that constitute reckless driving: 
  • Endangering the lives or safety of the public by street racing
  • Exceeding a vehicle speed of 100 miles per hour
There are also other ways to earn a reckless driving charge and the exact definition of reckless driving is a bit of a grey area in New Hampshire. Even if you aren’t speeding, other driving behaviors can endanger the lives of others. These include: 
  • Tailgating
  • Weaving between lanes
  • Failure to use turn signals
  • Road rage or aggressive driving
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Failure to yield
  • Evading 
While reckless driving can manifest in a dizzying number of ways, the heart of the issue is simple—reckless driving can have life-changing consequences for everyone involved. 
MORE: How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record?

What are the penalties for reckless driving in New Hampshire? 

The fines for reckless driving in New Hampshire can be quite costly and grow steeper with every subsequent conviction. A reckless driving charge could result in the following penalties:
  • First offense: At least $500 in fines and 60-day license suspension
  • Second or subsequent offense: $750 to $1,000 in fines and a 60-day to one-year license suspension
In addition to fines and suspended driving privileges, a reckless driving violation will add six points to your driving record. 
A driving-related unlawful killing will lead to charges beyond reckless driving. Reckless driving that results in the death of another person can carry the following charges and punishments: 
  • Vehicular assault (class A misdemeanor): Up to one year in jail and $2,000 in fines
  • Negligent homicide (class B misdemeanor): Up to seven years in prison, a maximum of $4,000 in fines, and up to a seven-year license revocation
  • Manslaughter: Up to 30 years in prison and lifetime license revocation
  • Second-degree murder: Up to life in prison
Key Takeaway Reckless driving in New Hampshire can appear in many forms, but street racing and driving over 100 miles per hour will result in a definite reckless driving charge.
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How can I remove a reckless driving charge from my record? 

Although it is not an easy task, removing a reckless driving charge is eventually possible under certain circumstances
You may apply for a Petition to Annul one year after conviction. Patience is essential—if you apply too early and get denied, the court can make you wait three years before allowing you to file another petition.
If that seems too long to wait, you can take earlier action by enrolling in a
driver improvement course
. You must have at least three points on your driving record to qualify for the course. After completion, three points will be deducted from your record. You cannot reduce any more than these three points from your record during a period of three years. 
If you decide to wait, the New Hampshire DMV will automatically remove points 3 years after a ticket’s conviction date. Nevertheless, each traffic violation increases the likelihood of license suspension, so it may be best to start cleaning up your record as soon as possible.
MORE: How to get car insurance with a bad driving record

Will reckless driving make my insurance go up? 

A reckless driving charge will cause a guaranteed hike in your insurance rate. On average, you can expect your insurance to go up by about 72% if you’re charged with reckless driving. 
Since the consequences of a reckless driving charge are severe, you should do your best to avoid the charge by being a safe and responsible driver. Not going over the speed limit, being an attentive driver, and enrolling in a defensive driving course are all ways you can prevent a reckless driving charge that will result in insurance surcharges. 

How to find affordable car insurance in New Hampshire

Depending on your circumstances, you won’t see any insurance surcharges immediately after a reckless driving conviction. In most instances, an insurance company doesn’t look at your record until it’s time to renew your policy—but it’s never a bad time to shop for the right
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Yes, you could go to jail for reckless driving in New Hampshire. If reckless driving results in someone’s death, you could face up to seven years in prison if charged with negligent homicide and up to life in prison if charged with second-degree murder.
The minimum penalty for reckless driving in New Hampshire is a $500 fine and a 60-day license suspension.
In New Hampshire, any driving behavior that poses a “substantial and unjustifiable” risk to others is reckless driving. Driving aggressively endangers the lives of others, so it is inherently considered reckless driving.
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