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Getting charged with a state criminal offense like fraud or DUI can be concerning and you are probably trying to figure out what to do. You may be wondering who will listen to your side of the story, what your rights are, what affect this may have on your personal life, and where you can turn for help.

As soon as you can, you should speak with a lawyer. Having a New Hampshire criminal lawyer on your side can help eliminate costly mistakes and lessen the chances of harsh consequences. Remember, it is totally within your rights to speak with a criminal lawyer before you speak with authorities. The sooner you can meet with a New Hampshire criminal attorney, the better off you will be. Keep in mind that not everyone who is charged with a state offense will be found guilty. Having a qualified and professional criminal lawyer can protect you and your family by explaining the options you have, including your rights. Many attorneys will even offer free advice at the start so you can more easily plan your next steps.

Do You Need a Criminal Lawyer in New Hampshire?

Each state has a set of laws that tell residents and visitors in that state what constitutes a criminally illegal act. The New Hampshire criminal code is freely accessible to the public, and it is the responsibility of every person to know what is considered a crime. More specifically, any person facing criminal charges should take the necessary steps to understand which of their actions and behaviors led to their particular charges. Yet, because of the number of crimes addressed in the code and the way specific charges are determined by a prosecutor isn’t always obvious.

In New Hampshire, criminal laws are divided into two broad categories. The more serious crimes are referred to as felonies, and less serious crimes are designated as misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are further broken down into one of two classes – Class A or Class B. Each of these two classifications has its own sentencing requirements. Sometimes people charged with misdemeanors disregard those charges, but even minor criminal charges often require the assistance of a criminal attorney in New Hampshire.

Under criminal law in New Hampshire, all felonies require a minimum punishment of one year, or 12 months, in state prison. Similarly to misdemeanors, felonies are classified as either Class A or Class B to further distinguish particular crimes by their severity, with Class A felonies being the more severe. It is important to note that only certain New Hampshire lawyers are knowledgeable in defense of Class A felonies and, if you are charged with a crime of this severity, you will definitely need to consult with an experienced defense attorney.

While they are considered less serious crimes, a conviction for a Class B felony such as second-degree assault or aggravated DUI can still greatly impact your life.

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Five Common Crimes Charged in New Hampshire

In the following paragraphs, Criminal Lawyer shares some descriptive information about five of the crimes that are most commonly charged in New Hampshire as a way to offer some clarity about each of these charges and what they can mean for an individual who is convicted of one or more of them. Any questions or concerns you may face should be discussed with a criminal attorney in New Hampshire.

Possession of a Controlled Drug

As in other states, possession of a controlled substance or controlled drug is illegal in New Hampshire. The state has a rigorous statute prohibiting the possession, manufacture, sale, purchase, prescription, and/or administration of controlled substances. The intention to commit any of these actions in relation to a controlled substance is also illegal. In New Hampshire, the term, “controlled drug,” includes cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and prescription drugs that are not permitted by a legal prescription.

New Hampshire drug possession laws also make possession of the compounds and ingredients required to manufacture controlled drugs illegal.

New Hampshire recognizes five categories of controlled drugs, and these categories are known as schedules. The punishment and severity of a drug-related criminal offense are dictated by the schedule to which the drug in question belongs, as well as by factors such as the amount a defendant had in his or her possession and any prior drug convictions. In New Hampshire, punishment for drug possession – even a first offense – is severe.

If convicted of a first offense possession of Schedule I, II, III, or IV drugs, an individual faces a maximum of seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000. Conviction of a second or third possession offense involving Schedule I, II, III, or IV drugs carries a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison and/or a $30,000 fine.

Schedule V drugs subject the defendant to slightly less serious punishments. For example, a first conviction carries a potential punishment of three years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine, while a second, third, or greater conviction for possessing a Schedule V drug will result in a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine.

Marijuana is considered a controlled drug in New Hampshire, but it is subject to separate maximum and minimum punishments in this state. The sentence of a convicted person is typically determined based on the amount found to have been in his or her possession and whether there was an intent to sell, while possession of any amount of other controlled drugs has the same potential prison sentence and a potential fine.

Find a top drug possession lawyer in New Hampshire .


While most states divide criminal assault charges into two basic categories based on severity – simple assault and aggravated assault – New Hampshire recognizes three separate degrees of assault. Additionally, New Hampshire defines assault as causing bodily injury or offensive contact with another person. The three different assault charges are charged based upon the mindset of the actor and the seriousness of the injuries sustained by the victim.

The least serious of the three is called simple assault, and it is typically charged as a misdemeanor. As a misdemeanor, a convicted person may be given a maximum punishment of one year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. Simple assault in New Hampshire is defined as:

  • Deliberately or knowingly causing bodily injury or offensive contact to another person
  • Recklessly causing bodily injury to another person
  • Negligently causing bodily injury to another person through the use of a deadly weapon
  • Second-degree assault is a felony in New Hampshire. Punishment following a conviction of second-degree assault is a maximum of seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000. As it does for simple assault, the New Hampshire criminal code provides specific circumstances that equate to a second-degree assault. These include:

  • Knowingly or recklessly causing serious bodily injury to another person
  • Recklessly causing bodily injury by use of a deadly weapon
  • Recklessly causing bodily injury due to extreme indifference to human life
  • Purposefully causing bodily injury to a child under the age of 13
  • Recklessly or negligently causing stillbirth or miscarriage
  • The most serious assault charge one may incur in New Hampshire is first-degree assault. First-degree assault is a Class A felony and, as such, it is among the most serious crimes in the state. As a Class A felony, the conviction for a first-degree assault will result in a minimum punishment of 7.5 years; however, the court may impose up to the maximum sentence, which is 15 years in state prison. New Hampshire law details four separate offenses that rise to the level of a first-degree assault:

  • Purposefully causing serious bodily injury
  • Purposefully or knowingly causing bodily injury by using a deadly weapon
  • Knowingly or recklessly causing serious bodily injury to a child under the age of 13
  • Purposefully or knowingly causing stillbirth or miscarriage
  • Individuals charged with assault, irrespective of the severity of their specific charges, should immediately hire a New Hampshire assault lawyer for assistance in navigating the processes and procedures of defending them in a criminal case.

    Find a top assault attorney in New Hampshire.


    Although murder is the most serious crime in New Hampshire, several degrees or severities of murder are actually defined within the New Hampshire criminal code – and each of these is a separate criminal defense which carries its own specific maximum punishments. Whether an intentional homicide is charged as capital murder, first-degree murder, or second-degree murder depends on several factors which are detailed in New Hampshire law.

    First-degree murder is defined as the intentional or deliberate killing of another person either before, during, or after the commission of certain specific crimes, including felonious sexual assault, robbery, burglary while armed with a deadly weapon, or arson. A prosecutor can also bring first-degree murder charges against a defendant for killing the President, Vice-President, a governor, a member of Congress, or a nominee for such offices. If convicted, an individual faces life in prison without parole.

    New Hampshire is one of the 32 states that still have capital punishment; however, capital punishment is reserved for those convicted of the most heinous crimes, including particularly gruesome murders or serial murder. A first-degree murder charge can rise to the level of capital murder only in certain instances and these include knowingly killing:

  • A police officer who is doing his or her official duties, or as retaliation for actions carried out in the line of duty
  • Another person before, during, or after the commission of a kidnapping
  • For hire or hiring another person to commit murder
  • After previously being sentenced to life in prison without parole
  • While committing or attempting to commit aggravated, felonious sexual assault
  • While committing or attempting to commit a crime described in New Hampshire Revised Code 318-B:26, I(a) or (b)
  • While committing or attempting to commit burglary
  • Second-degree murder is a less serious offense than first-degree murder or capital murder, but it is still a crime punishable by serious incarceration, up to and including life in prison. A court can elect to sentence an individual convicted of second-degree murder to a lesser prison term. Second-degree murder is defined as knowingly killing another person or acting in a reckless manner that demonstrates an extreme indifference to human life and which results in the death of another person.

    If you are charged with murder, you need a criminal defense lawyer in New Hampshire to represent you in court.

    Find a top murder defense lawyer in New Hampshire.


    The prohibition that addresses driving under the influence (DUI) of either alcohol or drugs is not found in the New Hampshire criminal code. Rather, it is found under the statutes involving motor vehicles and other driving regulations. However, criminal repercussions are still levied against individuals convicted of DUI, and these include the potential for incarceration.

    As in other states, New Hampshire laws make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher for a driver who is 21 years old or older, and a BAC of 0.02% if the driver is younger than 21 years of age. Operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance falls under the same law.

    Punishment for conviction of DUI is frequently determined based on whether or not the individual has been previously convicted of DUI. A first-time or second-time offender is charged with a misdemeanor and only faces financial punishment in the form of a fine; however, that fine can be as high as $1,200. An individual who is convicted of a third DUI faces much more severe consequences, including a minimum of 180 days in jail. The maximum sentence for a multiple DUI offender is 12 months.

    New Hampshire statutes also include a separate offense called aggravated DUI. An aggravated DUI is charged against a driver who has a BAC over 0.08% in conjunction with any of the following:

  • Excessive speed 30 miles or more above the posted limit
  • Causing a collision that results in serious bodily injury
  • Attempting to elude a police officer
  • Driving with a passenger under the age of 16
  • Aggravated DUI carries much more substantial punishments, and can even be considered a Class B felony if it results in serious bodily injury to another individual. A driver convicted of aggravated DUI could face up to seven years in prison.

    Not all lawyers in New Hampshire are experienced with DUI cases, but many criminal lawyers in New Hampshire will still handle DUI cases as part of broader criminal defense practice. Remember – it is in your best interest to select a New Hampshire criminal lawyer who is well versed in DUI defense.

    Find the best DUI lawyers in New Hampshire.


    New Hampshire theft crimes lawyers handle cases involving charges based on the unauthorized taking or exercise of control over another person’s property. Additionally, the intent of the accused person is a crucial element of theft charges and convictions in New Hampshire. To be found guilty, the actor must have intended to deprive the rightful owner of his or her property. In order for a jury to convict, a prosecutor must prove both factors – unauthorized taking or control and intent – on the part of the defendant.

    Essentially, three separate crimes fall under the heading of theft, and they are delineated based on the dollar value established for the stolen property. Theft is charged as a Class A misdemeanor when the value of the property stolen is less than $1,000. A more serious theft charge, reserved for instances when the stolen property is valued above $1,000 but under $1,500, is a Class B felony. The minimum sentence for theft of property worth between $1,000 and $1,500 is one year, and the maximum punishment is seven years. If convicted, the individual also faces substantial fines.

    Lastly, if the stolen property is valued at more than $1,500, the charge is a Class A felony. It is also considered a Class A felony to commit theft of a firearm – regardless of its value – or to commit theft when armed with a deadly weapon. An individual convicted of a Class A felony theft faces a maximum of 15 years in state prison.

    New Hampshire has several separate laws that deal with specific types of theft. These laws include identity theft, which is becoming a bigger issue across the United States. If you face these charges, it is possible to find New Hampshire identity theft attorneys and lawyers who specialize in defense of theft by fraud, extortion, or other forms of theft.

    Find the best theft lawyers in New Hampshire.

    Other Crimes

    The lawyers who comprise Criminal Lawyer are prepared to defend a variety of crimes in New Hampshire. Be reassured that our experience is not limited to the most common crimes in the state; rather, it extends to the defense of federal crimes and the pursuit of appeals to higher courts. Whether you are seeking a criminal defense attorney to defend you against charges of embezzlement or robbery, we can help.

    Importance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

    Often, a criminal conviction has extensive and irreversible effects on your life. Even the conviction of a misdemeanor can adversely impact your future. Through a robust and comprehensive defense, you have an opportunity to minimize the negative impact of these unfortunate events. This defense begins when you hire the best lawyer in New Hampshire to handle your case.

    If you are looking for the top criminal lawyers in New Hampshire and don’t know where to turn for reliable and convenient information, turn to us.

    You can learn more about the best criminal defense attorneys in New Hampshire by clicking here.

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