Serving all of New Hampshire. Offices: Concord, Manchester, Hudson, Portsmouth
Liberty Legal Services
Attorney Dan Hynes
130 Brook St..
Manchester, NH 03102
(603) 583-4444

Criminal Court Process

Page Index:



Usually, your first introduction into the criminal court process will begin with an arrest. However, you are entitled to a lawyer when being interrogated by a police officer, and you are entitled not to give incriminating statements. You generally have the right to remain silent and not answer questions.


Once you are arrested, you will be given the opportunity to post bail. The amount of bail will depend on the crime you are charged with, including if you are a danger to others or a flight risk, if you have previous defaulted or missed Court dates, how long you have been in New Hampshire, and other variables. You are entitled to have an attorney represent you and argue your bail conditions. If you are given unfair bail conditions, you may be able to have them modified. Attorney Hynes has successfully had bail conditions modified before for Clients.


Your next or first Court appearance will likely be the arraignment. At the arraignment you will be formallyl charged with a crime, given a copy of the charges, and will enter a plea to the charges. It is usually best to enter a plea of not guilty at this point, especially if you do not already have a lawyer. In certain circumstances arraignments can be waived/postponed, which allows for one less court appearance which would save you time and money if you are being represented by Attorney Hynes. Accordingly, it helps to act right away to protect your rights.

Classes of Crimes

In New Hampshire, crimes are divided into classes. Violations, Class B Misdemeanors, Class A Misdemeanors, Class B Felonies, and Class A Felonies.

Generally, violations carry a maximum fine of $1000 and will generally not count as a crime for when you apply for jobs.

Class B Misdemeanors are a crime, appear on your criminal record, and have a maximum fine of $1200.

Class A Misdemeanors are a crime with the possibility of up to 1 year in jail for each offense. In addition, they carry a maximum fine of $2000.

Class B Felonies are a crime with a maximum jail sentence of 7 years plus up to a $4000 fine.

Class A Felonies are a crime with a maximum jail sentence of 15 years plus up to a $4000 fine.

Some crimes, like Murder, carry additional jail time.

For more information please see: Classification of Crimes and Sentences.

Court Jurisdiction

New Hampshire has a somewhat unique and complicated system setup in regard to which court you will be in. Violations and Misdemeanors will usually start in District Court. At District Court you will have a trial by a judge. If you are charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, you are entitled to a jury trial because you face incarceration. Accordingly, if you are found guilty at District Court, you have an automatic right to appeal to Superior Court for a Jury Trial, where the process essentially starts all over.

Felonies can start at District Court, but the District Court cannot accept a guilty plea for a felony or otherwise handle the matter except to refer it to Superior Court. A felony winds up at Superior Court either after a finding of probable cause or by an indictment.

Discovery and Pre-trial procedure

After formally charged, you are entitled to discovery in your case, which includes all the information the State intends to prove against you, as well as exonerating evidence (evidence in your favor). You are entitled to police reports, and other evidence.

During the pre-trial phase, motions can be filed to either suppress illegally obtained evidence, or to dismiss the charge. These motions are usually unique in nature, fact specific, and have extensive legal analysis. It is probably best to have an attorney represent you to file these motions. Attorney Hynes has experience in successfully suppressing evidence that was illegally obtained, and filing motions to dismiss.


Most cases have a negotiated disposition, or are settled by plea agreement. Plea agreements can be beneficial because you will know the outcome and do not have to worry about what might happen. Plea agreements can help certain charges being dropped, as well as other charges being amended to a lesser charge. Attorney Hynes has experience in both of these areas. Please see Results and Testimonials for more detailed information.


If your case is not settled or dropped, it will eventually go to trial. This will either be a trial by judge if at District Court, or a trial by jury if in Superior Court. At trial, the State has the burden of proving all elements of the crime against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If they do not, you should be found Not Guilty. Attorney Hynes has experience in both of these areas. Please see Results and Testimonials for more detailed information.


If you are found guilty at trial, you can still appeal. New Hampshire has one appeals court, the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Appeals of criminal cases, so long as they are filed on time, are mandatory appeals, meaning the Supreme Court will hear your case. Besides handling trials in front of judges, and jury trials, Attorney Hynes does appeals.

Attorney Hynes handles all Traffic, Misdemeanor, and Felony cases involving DMV / License Suspensions, DWI Driving while intoxicated, /DUI, Driving under influence,Aggravated DWI, DWISubsequent , Felony DWI, Boating while intoxicated,  Domestic Violence, Drug Crimes, DWI / DUI, Driving Under the Influence, Sex Crimes / Pornography, Internet Crimes, Property Crimes, Theft Crimes,  Violent Crimes,  and White Collar Crimes for Defendants in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Including, concrd-nh-lawyer Burglary criminal-defense-lawyer Criminal Mischief criminal-defense Criminal Threatening drunk-drivingDisorderly Conduct dui-dwi-attorney-nh Domestic Violence dui-dwi-lawyer Drug Crimes dui-lawyer-manchester-nh DWI (All types) dui-lawyer-nashua-nh Embezzlement dui-lawyer-nashua-nhExtortion dui-lawyer-nh Failing to Register dwi-lawyer-new-hampshire Felony Assault dwi-lawyer-new-hampshire Fraud dwi-lawyer-nh Habitual Offender manchester-attorney Harassment manchester-lawyer Indecent Exposure manchester-nh-dwi-lawyer Internet Crimes nashua-attorney Kidnapping nashua-lawyer License Suspension Hearingsnashua-nh-dui-lawyer Murder nashua-nh-lawyer-4Negligent driving nashua-nh-lawyer-dui Operating After Suspension nashua-nh-lawyer-dui Pornography nashua-nh-lawyers Possession (All levels) new-hampshire-attorneysPrescription Drug Violations new-hampshire-defense-lawyer Prostitution new-hampshire-lawyer Rape / Sexual Assault new-hampshire Receiving Stolen Property nh-best-lawyer Reckless Conduct nh-criminal-defense-lawyer Reckless driving nh-dui-lawyer Resisting Arrest nh-dwi-lawyer Robbery nh-law-firm Sale/ Distributing Drugs nh-lawyer Sex Crimes nh-lawyers Shoplifting salem-nh-lawyer Simple Assault Brookline NH Soliciting a Minor for Sex * Stalking * Theft Crimes  * Theft by Deception * Theft of Mislaid Property * Theft by Unauthorized Taking * Theft of Services  * Trespassing * Violating Bail Conditions * Violation of Restraining Order  * Weapons / Gun Charges  * White Collar Crimes  * Willful Concealment

New Hampshire Office locations include Hudson, Nashua, Portsmouth. New Hampshire Practice Locations Include: Manchester NH, Nashua NH, Amherst NH, Bedford NH, Claremont NH, Concord NH, Derry NH, Dover NH, Durham NH, Exeter NH, Franklin NH, Goffstown NH, Hanover NH, Hampton NH, Hollis NH, Hooksett NH, Hudson NH, Laconia NH, Lebanon NH, Londonderry NH, Keene NH, Merrimack NH, Milford NH, Newmarket NH, Pelham NH, Pembroke NH, Portsmouth NH, Raymond NH, Rochester NH, Salem NH, Somersworth NH, Windham NH. All Counties Served: Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford, Sullivan.

Disclaimer:    All information contained on this website is not to be construed as formal legal  advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client  relationship. General advice should always be tested by the particular facts and circumstances of each  particular case. Legal advice is almost always case  specific. Case results may include cases from Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Past results do not guarantee a certain result in your case. Attorneys / Lawyers cannot guarantee a specific outcome. Images used on this site while involving actual clients of Attorney Hynes, may be a re-enactment or dramatization. This website may be considered advertising. The services offered on this website are only aimed at people charged with crimes in New Hampshire. All information accurate as of June 1, 2011