NEW HAMPSHIRE CRIMINAL LAW
Criminal law in New Hampshire is a large area of law that includes a variety of offenses, from smaller violations and misdemeanors to more severely punished felonies. Punishments and jail sentences are based on a number of factors including the type of crime that was committed, the criminal sentencing guidelines of your state, any prior convictions you might have, and the particular circumstances leading up to the crime. Here you can find basic information about some common topics in New Hampshire criminal law. If you have been charged with a crime in New Hampshire, you should speak with a New Hampshire criminal defense attorney.
Drug Possession in New Hampshire
The Controlled Drug Act of New Hampshire identifies certain drugs as "controlled." This law prohibits the manufacture, possession, sale or purchase, and transport of any controlled drug.
In the case of drug possession with intent to dispense, package or sell, there are a range of potential sentences based on the category into which the drug in question falls. These can range from a maximum of 3 years incarceration and $25,000 fine for up to one ounce of marijuana, to life imprisonment and $500,000 fine for five ounces of cocaine. Possession with intent to dispense of small amounts (e.g. five grams or less) of marijuana carries lesser penalties for misdemeanors.
Keep in mind that merely knowing that there are drugs in a premises or vehicle you have control over is enough to be charged with a misdemeanor, even if the drugs are not your property. To ensure you understand all the potential crimes with which you can be charged, contact a New Hampshire criminal defense attorney.
Assault in New Hampshire
Assault in New Hampshire is divided up into degrees, the first two of which are felonies.
First Degree Assault - defendant purposely caused a serious bodily injury to someone; punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
Second Degree Assault - defendant either knowingly or recklessly caused the injury; recklessly caused the injury with a deadly weapon; or recklessly caused the injury in a situation that suggests they had an extreme indifference to human life - punishable by up to seven years in jail.
Simple Assault - defendant purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury or unprivileged physical contact to another; recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or negligently causes bodily injury to another by means of a deadly weapon. Simple Assault is a misdemeanor and thus carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
A New Hampshire criminal defense attorney can argue legal standards such as "purposely" and "recklessly" and try to reduce or fully defend the degree of assault with which you are charged or convicted.
New Hampshire Drunk Driving – DUI/DWI
Drunk driving is one of the most common criminal charges people face. If you have received a DUI or DWI in New Hampshire, you can contact a New Hampshire DUI/DWI attorney who can tell you about the possible consequences such as license suspension, fines, and jail time.
Right to a Jury in New Hampshire
Defendants in criminal cases have a right to a jury in the New Hampshire Superior Court if the offense is subject a civil penalty that aggregates the total fines and penalties to an amount more than $1,500. In cases that are not eligible for the death sentence, defendants may choose to waive this right in writing and have the judge decide the case.
Trial Date in New Hampshire
Any person who has been arrested and who is not released on bail will appear before the district court for arraignment and bail hearing within 24 hours of being arrested; people who are released on bail may have to wait longer for their arraignment.
The New Hampshire court shall hold a probable cause hearing within ten days following the arraignment if the defendant is in custody, and within twenty days of if the defendant is not in custody. If the court determines that there is probable cause to believe that a charged offense has been committed and the defendant committed it, the court shall set a date for a trial in superior court. You should discuss any criminal hearings with a New Hampshire criminal defense lawyer.
Sentence Reviews & Appeals in New Hampshire
If the defendant was sentenced to one year or more of jail time, he or she has the right to apply for a review of the sentence before the sentence review board. This right can be waived as part of a plea agreement. You must apply within 30 days of the initial sentencing.
Additionally, a person convicted by a district court of a Class A misdemeanor may, at the time the sentence is announced, appeal to obtain a new jury trial in the superior court. If the defendant is then found guilty in superior court, he or she may appeal questions of law to the state supreme court. Contact a New Hampshire criminal defense attorney to explore possible options for an appeal.
New Hampshire Statutes and Rules