What Should You Know About Criminal Law?
Do I need an Attorney?
If you have been arrested, or are being contacted/question by police, you should contact an attorney without delay. The attorneys at Wilson, Bush & Keefe have the experience and knowledge to give you the advice you need. Please contact the office to discuss your pending matter.
I’ve been arrested for a criminal offense, what do I do now?
You should not discuss your case with anyone other than your attorney. It is important to be proactive and consult a competent attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Wilson, Bush & Keefe, are ready to meet with you to discuss your arrest and plan of action.
What is arraignment?
Arraignment is a formal reading of a criminal complaint in Court before the defendant in order to inform the defendant of the charges against him or her. At that time, the defendant is expected to enter a plea (guilty or not guilty). If a not guilty plea is entered, the court will schedule the case for trial. If a guilty plea is entered, the court will impose a penalty at that time.
It is in your best interest to consult an attorney prior to your arraignment if possible. If you did not have a chance to speak with an attorney prior to, then it is suggested that you enter a not guilty plea at your arraignment and then contact out office immediately to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.
What is probable cause hearing?
A probable cause hearing is a proceeding in district court in a felony charge. This hearing is used to determine whether there is enough evidence against an accused person to require a trial. Should probable cause be found, then the case is bound over to superior court.
What is an indictment?
In New Hampshire a grand jury is composed of twelve to twenty-three citizens who hear the evidence of potential cases. They must decide if there is sufficient evidence that an individual committed a felony. Should the grand jury find that there is sufficient evidence for a case to proceed to trial, they will issue an indictment.
I’ve been arrested for DWI/DUI (Driving Drunk), now what do I do?
You should contact an attorney immediately to discuss your case and options. You only have a certain period of time following your arrest to request a hearing at the Department of Safety regarding the imminent loss of license you will incur.
The experienced attorneys at Wilson, Bush and Keefe, are here to assist you and explain the process every step of the way.
Do I have to take the Breathalyzer Test?
You are under no obligation to take the Breathalyzer Test once arrested for DWI/DUI (driving while intoxicated). Although, you should know what your options are:
If you do not submit to the breath test, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for 180 days for a first refusal, and two (2) years for a second. Any loss of license you may incur through the Court will run consecutive to this loss.
On the other hand, if you do submit to the breath test and the results are over the legal limit (.08), your license will be suspended for 180 days for a first, and two (2) years for a second. Any loss of license you may incur through the Court will run concurrently to this loss.
In either scenario, you have the right to request a hearing at the Department of Safety for a review of your case.
What is an Administrative License Suspension?
In addition to the penalties imposed in any criminal court, the Department of Motor Vehicles will likely attempt to impose a period of license suspension through an Administrative License Suspension (ALS). If a driver suspected of DWI/DUI (Drunk Driving) refuses to take a breath test, or produces a breath test of greater than .08 (.02 for someone under 21 years of age), the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend that person’s license for six (6) months for a first offense and two (2) years for a subsequent offense.
It is important to contact an attorney following your arrest as you have the right to request a hearing before the Department of Safety regarding the ALS, but it must be done within 30 days of your arrest.
Can I still drive after my DWI/DUI (drunk driving) arrest?
New Hampshire Residents:
After you have been arrested for DWI/DUI (drunk driving), the police department should have taken your original license and replaced it with a piece of pink paper which has a heading of “State of New Hampshire; Department of Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles”. If you read closely at the back of this paper, you will see that this paper serves as a temporary license for 30 days. Your license will then be suspended for either 180 days (or two (2) years for a second refusal) thereafter.
You will also be receiving confirmation from the Department of Motor Vehicles as to when your loss of license will go into effect.
I have a Massachusetts license; can I still drive in Massachusetts after my DWI/DUI arrest in New Hampshire?
When you are arrested for a DWI/DUI in New Hampshire, the Department of Motor Vehicles can only suspend your New Hampshire operating privileges. You will be notified via letter from the State of New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles to advise you as to when your loss of license will go into effect.
Although, you should be aware that most times the New Hampshire DMV will notify your home state that you are under suspension in NH. Your home state will then likely suspend your license as well. Should your home state suspend your license, you will be notified by their Department of Motor Vehicles. You will not be eligible for reinstatement in your home state until you are reinstated in New Hampshire.
What is the penalty for a DWI 1st Offense?
A person charged with a first offense for a standard DWI/DUI (Drunk Driving) faces a class B misdemeanor crime, and can be fined not less than $500.00 (excluding any penalty assessment), and will be required to furnish proof of a treatment program before being allowed to get his license back. For a standard first offense for a DWI/DUI (Drunk Driving), the treatment program is described as an impaired driver intervention program (I.D.I.P.). The person will also be eligible to lose his license from 9 months to two (2) years.
If you have been arrested for a DWI/DUI (Drunk Driving) offense, contact our office immediately to speak with one of our experienced attorneys about your case.
Can I have my arrest/criminal conviction annulled from my record? How long do I have to wait?
Once you have been convicted of a crime, there is a specific waiting period before you are eligible to annul (or expunge) any record. The waiting period begins once the imposed sentence has expired.
- For a violation, you must wait one (1) year
- For a class A or B misdemeanor (except sexual assault), you must wait 3 years
- For a class B felony (except felony indecent exposure or lewdness), you must wait 5 years
- For a felony conviction under RSA 318-B (Controlled Drug Act), you must wait 7 years
- For a class A felony, you must wait 10 years
- For sexual assault under RSA 632-A:4, you must wait 10 years
- For felony indecent exposure or lewdness under RSA 645:1, II, you must wait 10 years