We are living in turbulent times. It is more important than ever to understand your rights should you be arrested. Knowing ahead of time what the arrest process will look like will help you if you go through the process of being arrested. Navigating the legal process can feel overwhelming. We recommend hiring a New Hampshire criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after you have been arrested.
Understanding Your Criminal Charge
You could be charged with a violation, which is a non-criminal offense. These offenses often carry fines up to $1,000. For some offenses, you might lose your license. You could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which comes with a fine of up to $1,200 and other penalties. It does not come with any jail time, however. You can also be charged with a class A misdemeanor, a class B felony, or a class A felony, which is the most serious type of crime. Class A felonies can carry up to 15 years in the New Hampshire State Prison.
What Happens After You are Arrested?
After you are arrested, you will usually be entitled to bail. In New Hampshire, judges and bail commissioners can take into account how much you can reasonably afford before they decide on the bail amount. If you have been charged with a violent or dangerous crime, you might not be offered bail. Next, you will be arraigned.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor or a violation, you will receive formal charges at your arraignment and you will be required to enter a plea. The arraignment usually happens at a New Hampshire district court. You will be able to plead guilty, not guilty, and no contest. Your attorney will give you legal advice that will help you determine how to plead. If you agree to a plea deal, you will enter a guilty plea in exchange for a reduction in your charges.
Discovery and Trial
During the discovery trial, your lawyer will be able to access photographs, the police report, witness statements, and any other evidence that the state might use against you. Your trial will take place in front of a single judge if you have been charged with a violation or misdemeanor. If you are facing a felony, you will have the right to choose either a jury trial or a single judge trial. If the court enters a guilty verdict, you will have the right to an appeal, as long as you file within 30 days.
Your Rights During the Arrest Process
Police officers must abide by the federal and state constitution when they arrest New Hampshire residents. For example, police officers must have probable cause to pull over a suspect. They must have a warrant before searching your home in most cases. They also must read your Miranda rights. When officers do not abide by the constitution, you can argue that your case should be dismissed or that the evidence they gathered should be thrown out.