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Liquor law in New Hampshire

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Drinking Age in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is one of the few states in the United States that allows 18-year-olds to purchase and consume alcohol in certain establishments. However, there are some restrictions that must be followed.

Here are the key points about the drinking age in New Hampshire:

Legal Drinking Age

The legal drinking age in New Hampshire is 21 years old. Anyone under the age of 21 is not legally allowed to purchase, possess, or consume any alcoholic beverages.

Exceptions to the Drinking Age

Although the legal drinking age is 21, there are some exceptions where individuals as young as 18 can legally consume alcohol in New Hampshire. These exceptions include:

  • Private residences: Anyone who is at least 18 years old may consume alcohol on private property with the permission of the property owner.
  • Religious ceremonies: Individuals under the age of 21 may consume alcohol for religious purposes.
  • Restaurant and bar employees: Anyone who is at least 18 years old may serve alcohol in restaurants and bars.

Penalties for Underage Drinking

Underage drinking in New Hampshire is taken very seriously, and there are severe penalties for anyone caught breaking the law. Penalties for underage drinking can include:

  • Criminal charges: Anyone caught drinking underage may face criminal charges, which can result in fines, community service, or even jail time.
  • Loss of driver's license: Anyone under the age of 21 who is caught drinking and driving may lose their driver's license.
  • Legal fees: Underage drinking charges can result in high legal fees, which can be financially devastating for young adults.


While New Hampshire does have some exceptions to the legal drinking age, it is important for individuals to understand the restrictions and penalties that come with underage drinking. It is always best to wait until the legal drinking age of 21 to consume alcohol to avoid any legal or personal consequences.

Driving and Alcohol Laws in New Hampshire

New Hampshire, like most states in the US, has strict laws when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol. These laws are designed to help prevent accidents and fatalities on the roads caused by intoxicated drivers. Here is a brief summary of the driving and alcohol laws in New Hampshire:

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits

In New Hampshire, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If a driver is found to have a BAC at or above this level, they can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). For commercial drivers, the BAC limit is lower at 0.04%.

Implied Consent Law

New Hampshire has an implied consent law, which means that if a driver is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are required to take a chemical test to determine their BAC. Refusal to take the test can result in a fine and automatic license suspension.

Penalties for DWI

The penalties for DWI in New Hampshire can vary depending on the driver's BAC, age, and any prior convictions. For a first offense, a driver can face fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education classes, and even jail time. Subsequent offenses can result in harsher penalties, including longer license suspensions and mandatory jail time.

Zero Tolerance for Underage Drinking and Driving

In New Hampshire, anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited from consuming alcohol. It is also illegal for anyone under 21 to drive with a BAC of 0.02% or higher. Penalties for underage drinking and driving can include fines, license suspension, and mandatory alcohol education classes.

Dram Shop Liability

New Hampshire has a dram shop law, which means that establishments that serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated patrons can be held liable for any damages or injuries caused by the intoxicated individual. This law is meant to encourage responsible alcohol service in bars and restaurants.

Overall, it is important for drivers in New Hampshire to understand the state's alcohol laws and to never drink and drive. Not only is it illegal, but it can also result in serious consequences for both the driver and anyone else on the road.

Blood Alcohol Concentration in New Hampshire

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits in New Hampshire
New Hampshire follows the legal BAC limits set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The following table lists the BAC limits for different categories of drivers in the state of New Hampshire.
Category of Driver BAC Limit
Non-commercial drivers who are 21 years and above 0.08%
Commercial drivers with a CDL 0.04%
Non-commercial drivers who are under 21 years 0.02%

It is important to note that even if a person's BAC is below the legal limit, they can still be charged with a DUI if they are found to be impaired. This is known as a "per se" DUI.

Additionally, New Hampshire has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21. This means that if a driver under 21 is found to have any amount of alcohol in their system, they can face penalties such as license suspension and fines.

It is always recommended to not drink and drive, and to have a designated driver or use alternative transportation if you plan on drinking.

Open container law in New Hampshire

Open Container Law in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, it is illegal to possess an open container with alcohol in a motor vehicle. The law applies to both drivers and passengers. Here are the key points:


  • Possession of an open container with alcohol in a motor vehicle is illegal.
  • The law applies to both drivers and passengers.
  • The container must be open and the alcohol must be readily accessible.


  • The law does not apply to passengers in a bus or limousine.
  • The law also does not apply to vehicles that are designed and used for transportation of people for hire, such as taxis.


  • Violation of the open container law is a misdemeanor offense.
  • Penalties may include fines and imprisonment up to one year.
  • The driver of the vehicle may be charged regardless of who owns the open container.

It is important to note that the open container law applies to public roads and highways as well as private property. Violation of this law can result in serious consequences, so it is always best to avoid drinking alcohol while in a motor vehicle.

New Hampshire Liquor Sale Open Hours

City Liquor Sale Open Hours
Manchester Monday to Saturday: 10 AM to 11 PM, Sunday: 12 PM to 6 PM
Nashua Monday to Saturday: 10 AM to 11 PM, Sunday: 12 PM to 6 PM
Concord Monday to Saturday: 10 AM to 11 PM, Sunday: 12 PM to 6 PM
Dover Monday to Saturday: 10 AM to 11 PM, Sunday: 12 PM to 6 PM
Rochester Monday to Saturday: 10 AM to 11 PM, Sunday: 12 PM to 6 PM
Portsmouth Monday to Saturday: 10 AM to 11 PM, Sunday: 12 PM to 6 PM
Keene Monday to Saturday: 10 AM to 11 PM, Sunday: 12 PM to 6 PM

In the state of New Hampshire, liquor sale open hours may vary from city to city. It is important for adults to know the correct hours in order to purchase liquor legally. The table above shows the liquor sale open hours for the major cities in New Hampshire.

All the cities mentioned have the same liquor sale open hours. From Monday to Saturday, liquor can be purchased between 10 AM to 11 PM and on Sunday, the sale is open between 12 PM to 6 PM. It is important to note that these hours are subject to change on holidays and special events.

It is also important to remember that New Hampshire has strict liquor laws and underage purchase and consumption of liquor is strictly prohibited. Adults should always drink responsibly and follow all state laws regarding liquor consumption.