New Hampshire Criminal Lawyer

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If you've been charged with a crime, the first step you should take is to hire a criminal attorney. Although there are numerous qualified and experienced criminal attorneys in the state of New Hampshire, finding the right one to represent you requires a bit of homework. You need to find a someone who has experience and success in fighting charges similar to yours. For example, if you've been charged with DUI it would be in your best interest to retain the services of a firm that has experience fighting DUI charges. That experience could pay off for you.

Crimes include both felonies and misdemeanors. Of the two offenses, felonies are more serious crimes. Felonies include but are not limited to rape, murder, grand theft, aggravated assault, fraud, embezzlement, kidnapping, torture, and treason. Felonies can also be defined as crimes which are generally punishable by more than one year in a state or federal prison. Misdemeanors, in contrast, are punishable by one year or less in a county or local jail, if the misdemeanant receives any incarceration at all. First-time misdemeanants are generally only assessed a fine, or possibly some community service. Fines, community service, the revocation of certain licenses or privileges, and probation or parole are also handed down to felons.

There are varying degrees of crimes or infractions. Simple traffic violations will probably not require the services of a criminal attorney, while more serious charges will. If you are able to pass the financial means test you can be assigned to a public defender for free or for small payments. If not, you can usually find a criminal attorney willing to set up some kind of payment plan. Even though you are entitled by law to have an attorney, you now will be charged a small amount even for the services of a public defender if the court deems you are financially able to pay.

At the beginning of your case the arresting officer will decide what you should be charged with. These charges are not binding. The prosecutor's office in your New Hampshire city will decide if the charges can be proven. In the case of a felony charge, the prosecutor will present the case to a grand jury. The level of proof before a grand jury must only show that there is a chance you committed the crime in order for you to be charged with the felony. The grand jury is made up of American citizens who review many felony cases.

Once the prosecutor has officially charged you, within 72 hours after your arrest, these charges can still be changed. An experienced criminal attorney will walk you through the likely scenarios and let you know if there is a plea deal possible in your case. Such a deal may let you plead to smaller charges in exchange for a guilty plea, or perhaps the sentence will be reduced in return for your having a long probation period. You may need to undergo treatment for drug or alcohol abuse or attend anger management classes. With first offenses, you may get the chance to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor with the successful completion of a treatment program, as long as you stay out of trouble. Your attorney will help decide if a plea bargain is the right course of action for you, and will negotiate with the prosecutor's office and the court on your behalf.

If your case does go to trial, you attorney will work long and hard to compile the best defense possible. He or she will review the facts of your case, interview witnesses, gather evidentiary material, and consult with current legal trends and precedents in order to mount an effective defense. He or she will also use skill and expertise to argue your case before a judge or jury.

Whether or not you are guilty, you need the experience of a criminal lawyer to give you the best possible representation at every step of the legal process.